Skip to main content

Full text of "The siege operations in the campaign against France, 1870-71."

See other formats





c <: c 

c.<: c 

1. This Book 

CC d 

re < 

'fCC <C^ CiT- 

■<• CiCco: <C^ 
'■ ^c c£ccr c: 

<• ccxs. ■c:<: <- c* «i ,( 

^ ^/Cc CC < CC V «c <s 
, «^CCXs <L< cZ^ ^ f, 

< mc ccvcc 4c"c 
Tv <£.'«: ■<r"^ 

'€^ <Z <r C « 

.■■ <-^jO^ Cs tC d • 

"sr«^"c<^c <:■- 

•: ^<:Ci«v: or >,< <- 

■/ Vc ctcrc<: 
; < c • «:^ c' c<- <7- 

CC-Cc CC X d 

I c <r <^ 

<«<: oc cv < c ,<^ 

^ « ■ c^ <?« 

^ : cr <: <g: 

<r<rc ccc co<:I- 
<l'*C' «cc -co 

.«S X c 


->■ C CC «C CCC C CC ^ 
-V c CC:'<<? Ccc c CC < ' 

_ ^. c «Xv c ^-^ ccc <: 
v\ ' :cr c c^ c « c^c <r 

c c-r^Wf ^c^E^pc. c<cc c 

^C-- :_ C «:K,'^ ^^J-^«:C; roc crccT cr «: 

CCr<c. CC ■ 

cin <' cx: ' • 
r • re 

c_-:; : CC . *> 

C C€X 



<r<j <c CC 

: cC Cc 

CC ^cc CC cic'<r<^^^ ^ 5-vS ^ r^ ^:c c. cc - 

«c — Xcc <1 ccc^^^^^cx^^ ^CC CC 

cc<c.<r ^ <^^^^^ f^^ fc ^cc CC 0<2^< 

ycccr.c^ ^ f< ^f^^ 2c ^ccc ^cr cc_^ ^^ 


c <:c cr<r c ccccr c<r ^^ Cc 
c cr cc c c2cc«c ^ c ^ CC • 

X CC cC C, 
<C «^L C C 

« <r c c 

vcc; c CC 

cc^ c c:c 
tccr. >c c ^- 

t< <L C CC 

C< C CCc 

<c <r «- c r 

c «x. r c c c 


<src5L f 


. cccc^. 

CC ^^' ex c *;c dc 
c ^ c:<:« c.c^ 

(fC CC c C CC ^^^^c 

c «:y ^c 
c «: CC 
c <r: cp 

c cc: CC 

< CC C 
Cf CCi C' 

^ V tc <L C CC <CCC: 

Ci < C< C C Cc cCCC 

^. e CC <jr < c r . ccc c 

p? C ccc rcc .. cQ^C 

Cj: C c<' civ ^c c <7 xk^ cccc 

c • '<r;cc c<;c c <r: ^ccc^c 

c:c <c «rc<"c. <:-r.« ^o < 

^ ^ cc ccc«:^cc <: cci c 

Ci ccc CCCC c <: c M-; cc t 

CC ' <c c:C' tCc^C'' cf cci c 

^ ^ cCc c C' < f C c CC-- CC c - 

cc •' <.Cf CC" 'C; <7 < ffc • fC c 

^ <^CC <CC . v CC c << . <Ci 

=> r 5*^ S^ ^"^ ' *^ «r<2 

-^ 1^^ ^*^ ^^'^ "^'^ , CC3.C 

Cc <C'I<'C<; c c<< .. cCt't 
<cc . <5^ ■' CC c '(C • CC?'. 
CC <C« ':':c '• <r 'cc^- 
<S. C C- C <■< c ,:x , c:c< 
C< c •Oct^c <r .( CCC 
<X CCC Crcc ( < ACCQ. 
C< C' Ct<?Q: f c ifc^C^r 
^ CC C CCCrc - < f<^^ 

-^ J^. C' CCC'CC c c CCCr<_ 

^^ >V^^c< 

CC g:g^c. 

?C CC 

c CC «LC 

. CC c CCC^ 

^ CC CC 

< CC - CCC 

c cC-Kic-.^c 
' cCrc^ <Cc 

< cC''?fX CC 

^ < C <£ ^ *CC 

c C' c^c CCC 
C<rc«Ii «31 

• CC «r« CCC 

' CC cc< CCC 
CC CCft'f CCC 

^ c ccjvctrc 

- C c C c CCC 

< CC 

-■c CC CC 

^CLC <C CC<^^''^ 
<^CI c -^sc cc< 
^■C C «S CC u c c_2^^. ^^Fv^*^ 

-: Ci ■.. c 

c<g;i < 
c<r c 
c-cr c 

c cc»< ccc 

CCC <cc 


cCc<5 - c . c CC: 

case «:_ c <L< 

irCCCr C --c 
CCCt 'C_r 
CCCC- C"^ ( 

c CC c' c<^,, , , eccy^ 

CCC CC c <§i:::c .CC 

< CCC « C ^JSlf ^ 

c C^C5C< 

-■■ C<^ C^c 

■■' C<Zrf c^ 
■ ' <^<:" c .c 
- CC" c < 
' c«:7, c 

' C<Cj'.C ■ 
^ccctcc . 

cccCCr r r . 

5 C?Cij^<c csTc <3 

CCC' <r c ^jtz'<x: 

CC c < 

'CO- c 
- CC' c 

^ 'CC-^'CCtC';l^ C 
^< <1 Ciirctcrcr , , 

C r<e 

V C'<^c. 


c «x. Cf «4r < 

_£JC' C ■ 

' ^3Cg-C' 

-SC ..c'c ■■ 
«c:«rc. <t' cr 

>^ cscs: 

«I1C c CC < <C ■■ c «!Ci '^ CC< 

cSCc-«?:c<^c c<LC^^^ 

-^^^ C« CCc«C c C «K- - C ^C« 

C C/iCJc c < 

C'-CcfCc C ' _ 

':c-<<-<< c •ac: c<>-< 

^C>v CC C< 

. c .c C^Cc C: 

' <«:ic- <c'. 

<sc c c 

e<rj c 


3- c oc < 

c<-' c «:^^sac:< 

rc C ^-^^C 
















Printed under the Sitpenntcndence of Her Majesti/'s Stationery Office, 


W. Clowes & Sons, 13 Charing Cross : Hahrison & Sons, 59 Pall Mall 

W. H. Allen & Co., 13 Waterloo Place ; "W. Mitchell, 39 Charing Cross 

Longmans & Co., Paternoster Row ; Thubnee 6c Co., 67 & 59 Ludgate Hill 

Stanford, Charing Cross ; and C. Kegan Palx & Co., 1 Paternoster Square, 

Also by Griffin & Co., The Hard, Portsea ; 

A. & C. Black, Edinburgh; 

Alex, Thom, Abbey Street, and E. Ponsonby, Grafton Street, Dublin. 


Price Four Shilling. -s and Sixpence, 


The campaign of 1870-71, taken in conjunction with that of 1866, 
will mark a new epoch in military history and the art of war, and 
will long afford thoughtful soldiers inexhaustible materials for 
study of every description. 

The war of 1866 was followed by re-organisation and re-arm- 
ing iu most of the countries of Europe, and similarly that of 1870- 
7 1 will lead to reforms, among which those in the art of fortification 
will undoubtedly take a prominent place. 

The first regular siege of a fortress of the highest order since 
the introduction of rifled ordnance, the blockade of the strongest 
place in the world with an army for its garrison, and the successful 
operations before the enemy's capital, containing 2,000,000 inhabi- 
tants, as well as those against the other strongholds of France, 
which occupied the German armies for four months after the 
Battle of Sedan, are all events of the highest interest, not only for 
the artilleryman and engineer, but for every officer, and even for 
the general public. 

These pages are supplementary to the many general accounts 
of the campaign, as they deal exclusively with the siege opera- 
tions of 1870-71. The author does not at present attempt to put 
forth a thorough critical examination of those important events, but 
he wishes to supply a clear account of the particulars of the various 
sieges, and of the larger sorties, and thus to contribute a chapter 
to the history of the great war. With this object all available 
authorities have been carefully collected, sifted, and, where neces- 
sary, supplemented, so that it is hoped a complete sketch, in out- 
line, of the siege operations may be offered to the reader. Although 
this work contains the more important particulars, further details 
must be looked for in subsequent publications, at a time when it 
will be more easily supplied. 

36996. WT. 7702, h 


It is impossible to write a complete and perfectly accurate 
history of the sieges so soon after the war ; this can alone he done 
by the authorities some time hence, when all the official reports from 
the various arms of the service are available. The Siege of Sebas- 
topol was only described for some time by ordinary books and maps, 
and the same will be the case with that of Paris, which affords, 
beyond all comparison, more copious matter. The Author is per- 
fectly aware of the deficiencies of his work in many respects, both 
in the letterpress and in the plans ; but he hopes for indulgence 
from the reader, and also from the critic, to both of whom the 
difficulty of a work of this kind must be known. 

The accompanying Plates will, it is hoped, prove sufficient to 
explain and supplement the description of the sieges. 


Dresden, October 1871. 




. 1 


(Plate I.) . 



(Plate II.) . 

. 7 


(Plate II.) . 

. 8 


(Plate II.) . 

. 10 


(Plate III.) 

. 11 


(Plate IV.) . 

. 15 


(PlatkV.) . 

. 20 


(Plate VI.) 


. 26 


(Plate VII.) 

. 29 

Investment and Bombardment 

. 31 

Regular Siege 

. 41 

Surrender , 

. 53 


(Plate VIII.) 

. 55 


(Plate IX.) 

. 59 


(Plate X.) . 

. 65 


(Plate XI.) 

. 70 

The Condition of the Fortress, and of the French 




. 72 

The Investing Army and 

Field Fortifications . 

. 76 



. 79 


R . 

. 83 


(Plate XII.) 

. 86 


(Plate XIII.) 

. 94 

La Fere. 

(Plate VI.) . 

. 99 


(Plate XIV) 

. 102 


(Plate XV.) 

. 108 


(Plate XVI.) 

. 113 


(Plate XVII.) 

. 120 


(Plate XVIII.] 


. 125 

State of Affairs in the Foetf.ess, Preparations foe a Siege, 
The Army of Paris. ........ 





Arrival of the German Armies before Paris . . . 139 

Arrangements for Attack 142 

Sorties 146 

Preparations for the Artillery Attack .... 157 

Artillery Attack of the East, South, and North Fronts. . 160 

Surrender 171 

Belfort. (Plate XIX.) 174 

Preliminary Engagements before the Siege. . . . 177 

Bombardment 178 

Opening of the Regular Attack 184 

Surrender. . 185 


Advance of the First Army. 










In few great wars has the influence of fortifications on military 
operations been displayed in so striking a manner as in the recent 
campaign. It is, therefore, of special interest to take a pre- 
liminary glance at the systems of defence which had been organised 
in the countries concerned. 

This remark has reference particularly to the advance of the 
opposing armies on Berlin and Paris respectively ; for Berlin was 
the objective point of the French, in case the fortune of war had 
been favourable to them on the Rhine. 

In Prussia we find that from the western frontier to the 
capital of the country the lines of the rivers and the most im- 
portant passages over them, as well as the junctions of the high- 
roads and railways, are protected by fortresses of suitable strength, 
which not only cover the communications at these points, but 
also secure the provincial capitals and the military depots against 
the attack of an enemy. They are generally of such strategic 
importance and so strong in themselves, that they could not be 
neglected in any operations of a systematic and deliberate 
nature. Besides fortresses on the lines of the Rhine and the 
Elbe, the country is protected by an appropriate and suflScient 
number in advanced and intermediate positions, which would 
serve as bases and points of support to an army acting on the 
defensive in this quarter. We believe it may be assumed that 
a project for fortifying Berlin — though, perhaps, only in a tem- 
porary manner — exists, and is so far completed, that its execution 

36996. B 

could be effected in a very short time. As far as the means at the 
disposal of the government permit, the fortresses of Prussia are 
maintained in excellent condition, and ready for war. 

In France we find a very different state of affairs. On the 
northern and eastern frontiers lies a threefold girdle of fortresses 
of all classes, erected for the most part by Louis XIV., ostensibly 
as a bar to Grerman invasions. We must bear in mind, however, 
in criticising with our present views this system of land defences, 
that the regular siege played a far greater part in war formerly 
than at the present day. Most of the fortresses, both large and 
small, in that part of the coimtry were originally built, or con- 
verted from older works to their present form, by Vauban, 
Chamilly, and Cormontaigne. 

It was on account of tlie slowness of the movements of the 
armies of that period, and the wretched state of the country topo- 
graphically, that the fortresses were erected in places that are now 
of no military value ; for this war has taught us that the advance 
of the German armies, by the roads and railways now existing, was 
not delayed by them. As railways form now the chief lines of 
operations of armies, a sweeping reduction in the number of the 
small frontier fortresses should long since have been undertaken 
in France, and there would then have been no occasion for the 
parsimony that has been shown in the cost of their maintenance, 
in their garrisons, and even in their armaments and supplies of 
ammunition. Moreover the French, so long ago as 1814-15, had 
the best of lessons, especially with regard to the numerous small 
fortresses of the northern frontier, but to this day they have not 
profited by it Consequently, of the fortresses in Alsace and 
Lorraine, only the possession of Strasburg and Metz has for us a 
decided, and that of Bitsch and Pfalzburg a subordinate interest. 
Finally, we may observe that, in spite of these circumstances, it is 
not unlikely that the small fortresses, being there, will be main- 
tained for some years, because they may be useful as points of 
support in the conquered country of Lorraine. Independent Of 
this expense, Lorraine and Alsace will at first cost us more than 
they will bring in. 

With the fortresses of Lorraine once in our hands, the whole 
country as far as Paris lies open. We see that, as regards places 
to bar the communications by road, railway, or canal, Toul and, 
perhaps, also Vitry were the only important points, since they 
secure the line of railway leading from Metz and Strasburg, by 
Nancy, to Paris. The advance to Paris would have been a very 
different matter for the Grerman armies if Chalons and Soissons, 
Rheims and Troyes, had been fortresses of suitable strength and 
size, and had prevented us from marching straight on the capital. 
Paris was a fortress from an early date down to the reign of 
Louis XIV. In course of time it was repeatedly enlarged. Louis 
XIV. caused the fortifications to be demolished, in order to improve 
and enlarge the town, not without the opposition of Marshal 
Vauban, who wrote a memorandum on the fortification of Paris, 
but without result. Again, under Napoleon, suggestions were made 

for the fortification of Paris, put forward apparently by Marshal 
Soult; hut the idea was not carried into execution. Thus the 
Allies, in 1814-15, found it an open town, with nothing round it but 
barricades and some slight works at tlie barriers and on Montmartre, 
so that it was easily taken, after some sanguinary engagements, 
which took place chiefly round the well-known plateau of liomain- 
ville, and round Montmartre, then lying without the town. 

Five-and -twenty years later the then premier (Thiers)succeeded 
in fortifying the capital of the country, at a cost of 140 millions 
of francs, according to a project proposed — so far as we are aware 
— by General Dode de la Brunerie. The veteran diplomatist 
Thiers, a Frenchman to the backbone, has now, after having met 
with great opposition to his scheme of fortifying Paris, the satis- 
faction of having seen an army of 250,000 men arrested before 
the capital in their triumphal march, as he, with full knowledge 
of the internal condition of France, had prophesied before the 
outbreak of the war. 

Had Paris not been a fortress, France would have been, in all 
probability, compelled to make peace after the events of Sedan, 
because, quite independently of the moral impression which the 
news of the march of the Grermans on the capital of the country 
could not fail to produce, the government, sprung from the revo- 
lution of September, would not have had the time requisite for 
the creation of new armies in Paris, in the South and in the North 
of the country, for the acquisition of new materiel, and for the 
organisation of a popular war in some of the provinces. Without 
fortifications, Paris could not have defended itself on the 18th 
March, 1871, and it was a strange stroke of destiny that the builder 
of the works should stay so long before them without becoming 
their master. 

The French declaration of war, made on the most frivolous 
grounds in Jidy, 1870, found the Grerman fortresses of thePlnne — 
Saarlouis, Cfermersheim, Eastatt, Mainz, Coblentz, Cologne, and 
Wesel — on a peace footing. Thanks to the admirable system 
of readiness for war in the German army, and to the regu- 
lations made for this purpose, these fortresses were put into a 
complete state of defence to resist a sudden attack, with regard 
both to their works and their armaments, before the end of 
the first fortnight. Had the French army pressed on before this 
time, it would, at the worst, have interfered no more with the pre- 
paration of the fortresses than with the mobilisation of the army. 
There must have been some important reasons why the French, 
after completing their concentration in all essentials so early as 
the IGth July, did not seize the opportunity to attack Saarlouis 
and Eastatt, which lay so close to them. 

On the side of the French, at the outbreak of the war, the 
fortresses of Strasburg, Breisach, Schlettstadt, Belfort, Liitzelstein 
(La Petite Pierre), Lichtenberg, Pfalzburg, Bitsch, Marsal, jMetz, 
Toul, Thionville, Longwy, Montmedy, Mezieres, and Sedan were 
declared in a state of siege, and put into a condition for defence, 
which last, with the French, corresponds to our ' Armirung ' (pre- 

B 2 

paration of works and armaments). But in France, dm*ing- 
peace, with few exceptions, little or nothing is done to prepare the 
fortresses for the transition from a condition of peace to one of 
war, so that the armaments and works of the places there were 
not ready beforehand ; thus it came to pass that, wherever our 
advanced guards appeared, they found the preparations for a state 
of siege incomplete, and interrupted them. 

Never yet has so rich a field for practical and professional 
training presented itself to the German siege artillery and to 
the German engineers as in the late war. They had to contend 
against adversaries, who, firm and unshaken in the traditions 
of tlieir famous engineers and artillerymen, imagined that 
they far excelled all other nations in fortification and in 
gunnery, and had often declared their superiority, both verbally 
and in writing. Our success against the French fortresses has 
now proved, clearly and unanswerably, the superiority of the 
German scientific arms. The armaments of the French fortresses 
may be said to have been everywhere ample ; but they had 
omitted to strengthen and extend the fortifications by the addi- 
tion of detached forts, which would have kept at a distance the 
enemy's long-range artillery, and the defence was thus at a dis- 
advantage. Only Metz, Paris, and Belfort were provided with 
such forts, and these fully answered the purpose for which they 
were intended. 



(plate I.) 

The strong mountain castle of Lichtenberg is situated at the 
entrance to the Vosges, on an isolated conical hill overtopping the 
table-land around it by about 100 feet. It consists of an enceinte, 
revetted to a height of 30 to 35 feet, mth a ditch and masonry 

The escarp is broken, so as to flank the ditch, and is in some 
places provided with machicoulis, by which fire can be directed 
on the foot of the wall. Inside the fort is a bombproof keep, 
which, with a few casemates, is the only accommodation for the 
garrison. The gateway on the west side is blasted out of the 
rock, and is protected by a ravelin in front. 

The fort bars the road, which leads from Buchsweiler by 
Ingweiler to Lemberg. It lies at one side of, and about three- 
quarters of a mile (three-and-a-half miles English) north of the 
road between the valleys of the Moder and the Rothbach : its in- 
fluence on the road is dependent on the strength of the troops 
available for offensive action from the fort. 

The order for the caj^ture of the stronghold of Lichtenberg 
reached Major- General Yon Obernitz, of the Prussian army, 
attached to and commanding the Wiirtemberg division, on the 
evening of the 8th Augiist. With this object a detachment, con- 
sisting of the 1st and 3rd jiiger battalions, two batteries, half a squa- 
dron of the 4th cavalry regiment, and a detachment of pioneers 
(engineers), under the command of General Von Hiigel, started 
from their bivouac near Rothbach and Ingweiler early on the 9th 
August, and reached the fortress about half-past 7 o'clock in 
the morning. 

The village of Lichtenberg, which was weakly occupied, was 
surrendered by the French on the approach of the detacliment. 
Captain Schill was sent, with a flag of truce, to the fortress to 
demand its surrender ; he returned, howe\^r, without any result, 
after having been fired at. Upon this the 1st jager battalion 
took up a position in the town of Lichtenberg west of the fort, 
the 3rd in the wood to the east of it ; the cavalry main- 
tained the communication between the two on the north side. 
The artillery came into action at first at 2,000 paces, and 
afterwards at 1,700 paces, to the eastward of the road leading 
from the Moder valley Lo Lichtenberg ; later on they advanced 
about 500 paces. 

The fire of these two batteries, assisted by the musketry of the 
two jager battalions, was answered by shells and musketry from 
the fort, without any important result being attained on either 

side. About 1 1 a.m. a reinforcement of a third battery arrived, 
and took np a position on the left of tlie batteries already in 
action. Some of the guns in the fort were dismounted ; here 
and there flames were seen in the work. 

The fort was summoned to surrender, Imt without success ; 
contrary to the custom of war, the flag of truce was fired 
upon. The engagement began afresh after the arrival of two 
more infantry companies, who took their share in the musketry 
fight of the jager battalions ; single skirmishers advanced right up 
to the glacis ; the pioneers burst through the barrier of the 
palisades there. As the principal gateway was covered, and 
could not be shelled by the artillery, and the destruction of 
tbe buildings did not seem sufficiently extensive to justify an 
assault, the fire upon the work was stopped late in the afternoon, 
and the detachment began to march back, leaving before the fort 
the half-squadron of cavalry and the 1st jager battalion. These 
troops were to take up a position for the observation of the fortress. 
Suddenly the roof of one of the principal buildings in the work 
took fire, and this induced General Von Hiigel to order the 6th 
battery, which had already inarched off", to recommence fire ; it 
returned, and cannonaded the fort most effectively, at 1,700 paces, 
until 7 o'clock in the evening. The damage effected in the work 
increased visibly, and the Commandant (Second-Lieutenant Arcuer) 
was, therefore, induced to capitulate, about 10 o'clock in the 

The fort was taken over on the following morning, about 8 
o'clock, by the 1st jager battalion, left behind under the command 
of Lieutenant-Colonel Steiger ; while the rest of the detachment got 
back, on the 1 2th August, to the division, which had in the mean- 
time advanced to Eauweiler. The artillery had fired about 1,300 
rounds against the fort. The garrison (consisting of three officers 
and 280 men, including 27 wounded and 10 killed) comprised 24 
men of the 96th line regiment, 6 gunners of the oth regiment 
of artillery, and 240 fugitives from the battle of Worth. It seems, 
therefore, as if the fort had not from the first been supplied with 
its war garrison. The war-materiel captured consisted of 4 guns, 
3 howitzers, 204 chassepot rifles, quantities of gun and musket 
ammunition, and other artillery and engineer stores, as well as 
provisions of every kind. 

The officers were allowed to retain their swords for a time, and 
received their private property. The rest of the garrison were at 
once sent away as prisoners of war. The capitulation was con- 
cluded by Major Seestorf, commanding the 1st Wiirtemberg jager 
battalion, and approved on the 11th August by His Eoyal High- 
ness the CrowTi Prince of Prussia, as Commander-in-Chief of the 
Illrd army. 

Plate If 

I -L L 

J— —4 

^o , It vY i^'^^^'"' 

J'p !\aar jlj^^^^ Seo Aoo 3oe Zoo ^m clace^r .ji^f*? ^^"^-.^ * 

' "^ \\::^^^P<'^'t« Pierre 



PApmovrpE SM.£. 


(plate II.) 

The little fort of Liitzelstein (La Petite Pierre) bars the higli- 
road which leads diagonally over the mountains from Hagenaii 
to the Saar, as well as the road on the ridge from Bitsch to Pfalz- 
burg. The roads of the Vosges here, and we may add generally, 
are kej)t in very good order, and fit for the passage of troops of all 

The fort of Liitzelstein has an escarp 26 feet high, which b}^ 
its broken trace provides for the flanking of the ditch. The 
counterscarp is of earth. The outworks on the west and south 
sides are almost in ruins. Tlie castle in the interior of the fort, 
constructed in the style of the middle ages, serves as a defensible 
barrack, and may, with some alterations to the buildings, be made 
use of as a keep. 

Liitzelstein was abandoned by the enemy and fell into our 
hands on the 9th August, and with it some guns, magazines, and 
warlike stores. The capture of the fort was a result of the victories 
of Weissenburg, Worth, and Saarbriicken, in consequence of which 
the French entirely evacuated the country from the frontier to 
the Vosges. The defence of the passes of the Vosges to the death, 
which they had previously spoken of, was therefore but an empty 

The fort was surrendered, with its garrison of half a company 
of the 96th regiment of infantry, to a AViirtemberg company. 

Apparently the garrison was taken by surprise at the rapid 
advance of the German columns. On its occupation there were 
found half-finished palisades, and great masses of squared stones, 
which must have been prepared for building, but had not been 
used. General De Failly, who inspected the jDlace on Sunday the 
7th August, after the Battle of Worth, left behind him the most 
distinct orders for its vigorous defence. A great jsart of the arms 
and ammunition were found buried, as well as some ofiScers' baggage. 

His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief of thellird 
army, the Crown Prince Frederick William of Prussia, inspected 
the fort, in the course of his march with the headquarters, on the 
10th August. 


(plate II.) 

The fort of Marsal commands tlie valley of tlie Seylle, near the im- 
portant road -junctions at Chateau-Salins and Moyenvic, where the 
main roads — JNIetz to Strasburg, Saargemiind to Nancy, and Saar- 
louis to Luneville — cross one another after being joined by nume- 
rous branches. The ground in the direction of Metz forms an ex- 
cellent defensive position if the defence of the North-east of 
France is in question, but in the hasty retreat of the French to 
the line of the Moselle this advantage was not made use of. 

The fortress has about 1 ,200 inhabitants, and consists of seven 
bastioned fronts, of which those commanding the chief roads, and 
through which the latter enter the fortress, are provided with 
ravelins. The ditches are supplied from the Seylle, and have 
masonry escarps but no flanking defences in them ; nevertheless 
the place must be considered as secure from assault, and much 
must in recent times have been done to strengthen it. The ground 
in front of the fort — which lies very low, and is intersected by 
several channels of the Seylle — is marshy, and thus very ill-adapted 
for the advance of troops. 

The 4th Bavarian division, under the command of Lieutenant- 
Greneral Von Bothmer, commenced their march by Tiiitzelstein on 
the evening of the 14th August. While on the road on the 
heights of Mecleuves, the order arrived to advance by a forced 
march immediately through IMarsal to Luneville, in order to cover 
the left flank. 

The 4th Prussian cavalry division had already arrived before 
Marsal on the 13th of August. They bombarded the town and 
demanded its surrender without success ; in the evening the division 
was relieved by three battalions and a regiment of light cavalry 
belonging to the advanced guard of the Ilnd Bavarian corps. 

On the 14th of August the ulan brigade, a detachment of 
reserve artillery, and two companies of engineers, marched for 
Marsal. The heights surrounding the fortress on the north and 
south offer good commanding positions; they were each occupied 
by a regiment of ulans and three or four batteries. All the pre- 
parations for a vigorous bombardment were completed ; a signal 
gun was to give the time for opening fire. The officer commanding 
the corps, Lieut.-Gfeneral von Hartmann, sent a written demand 
for the sm'render of the place ; during the negotiations, which 
lasted an hour, a shot was fired from the fortress, and a Bavarian 
battery also fired 21 rounds prematurely ; the firing was not, how- 

ever, without its influence on the commandant, who capitulated. 
Sixteen officers and several hundred men forming the garrison 
became prisoners of war, whilst 61 guns and considerable supplies 
of all kinds fell into the hands of the Bavarian troops. 

With the fall of Marsal the road through Dieuze to Nancy 
became open, and the communications with the Khenish Palati- 
nate were established. The war indemnity for the fortress of 
Marsal amounted to 35,957 francs. 



(plate II.) 

ViTRY, on the Maine, lies between the canal of La Marne and the 
railroad from St. Dizier to Chalons, and is astride of the main road 
from 8trasburg to Paris. The town is 300 years old, and was 
founded by Francis I., on which account it is called ' Vitry le 
Franpais ' ; its military importance results from the situation, which 
gives it the command of a main road. 

The fortifications of Vitry consist of nine irregular bastions. 
There are no casemates, outworks, or detached forts : the profile 
of the works and the flank defences are such that the place must, 
nevertheless, be considered proof against assault. 

The preparations for a siege were very scanty, as regarded both 
works and armaments. The entrance-gates were merely barricaded 
in such a manner as the hourly expected approach of the enemy 
rendered absolutely requisite. A railway-bridge 100 feet long, 
lying within range of the guns of the fort, had, however, been 
blown up. 

The head of the cavalry division, which had to clear the ground 
for the march of the Ilird army, had, on the 24th August, ad- 
vanced into the neighbourhood of the fortress. On the 25th 
August the head of the advanced guard of the division arrived 
before the fortress, and summoned the commandant to surrender 
the place ; in case of refusal a bombardment was threatened. 

About 1 1 o'clock the town capitulated, and was at once occupied 
by a squadron of the 5th regiment of dragoons, under the com- 
mand of Captain Von Grorschen. Three hundred men were found 
there, all gardes mobiles, who had not yet received their clothing, 
and who without delay laid down their arms. 

The stores of arms and ammunition which the enemy left 
behind him were also on this occasion considerable : 5,000 stand 
of muskets, 3,000 side-arms, 17 guns complete (consisting of three 
rifled 24-pounders, two rifled 12-pounders, three smooth-bore 24- 
pounders, seven smooth-bore 12-pounders, and two smooth-bore 
6-pounders) became spoil of war. 

The railway-bridge that had been destroyed was at once re- 
stored by the Royal Prussian field railway detachment. No. 2. 

Plate. Ilf 

x/ .' ' ' 



(plate III.) 

The fortress of Pfalzburg commands the mountain road, the rail- 
road, and the Ehiue-Marne canal, which all lead from Strasburg 
by Zabern to Nanc}'^ and Paris. The road and the canal lie 
lialf a mile (2^ Englisli miles) to the south of the fortress. 
The place is iDidlt on the bastioned trace, and has six bastions. 
The various lines of the fortress see well into the ravines, and ove]* 
the vmdulations of the ground in front. The ditches are 24 feet 
deep and revetted, the escarps being in part cut out of the rock, and 
the fortress may thus be considered as perfectly secure from assault, 
Pfalzburg- has two gateways, with bombjDroof barracks in connec- 
tion with them, and also two large powder-magazines, amply pro- 
tected against direct and vertical fire. Some of the bastions are 
provided with hollow traverses, of which the foundations go down 
to the casemates under the ramparts. Such traverses materially 
increase the defensive strength of a place, for they afford secure 
shelter, to the gunners and the guard of the ramparts, against the 
destructive effect of the artillery of the attack — now a very 
serious matter — witliout its being necessary for them to leave the 

This place, like the fortresses near it, did not delay the Ilird 
army in its advance. It was desirable, however, to obtain pos- 
session of it, so as to open the communications in rear of the army 
with Lorraine and Alsace. The Vlth Prussian army corps, there- 
fore, received orders to make an attempt to take the place by means 
of a bombardment. 

The 12th division was ordered on this duty. The infantry 
marched by the valley of the Ziesel, the artillery by the pass of 
Liitzelstein ; and by 4 o'clock on the afternoon of the 13th August, 
the little fortress was completely invested by the 22nd infantry 
brigade (38th and 51st regiments and 6th jagers). In the evening 
a reconnaissance was made towards the place, which established the 
fact that it was amply provided with artillery. During the night 
an engineer officer crept up to the outer slope of the ditch, and 
ascertained that the depth of the ditch was seven metres (23 feet). 
The general commanding, Lieutenant-Greneral Von Tiimpling, was 
satisfied, from these observations, that a sudden assault upon this 
very small but defensively strong fortress was not practicable, 
at all events without special preparations. He, therefore, ordered 
a bombardment with 60 field-guns, of which 24 were heavy. 
These were to be jDlaced, on the night of the 13th-14th 


August, in covered emplacements on the heights of Weschheim, 
north-Avest of Pfalzburg. The position taken up for the guns 
was, upon the whole, the best that could be selected, considering 
that the formation of tlie ground was unfavourable for the fire of 
artillery, and having regard to the position and form of the object 
aimed at. A certain amount of protection was obtained, and 
the guns were very nearly opposite to the greatest depth of the fort. 
1160 men were told off for the construction of the emplacements. 
The works were carried on at night, quietly, and, considering the 
circumstances, quickly ; and no attempt was made to desti'oy them 
by the garrison of the fort. 

At daybreak, at 4 a.m. on the 14th August, Major Eeese, of tlie 
general staff, conveyed to the commandant, Lieutenant-Colonel 
Taillon-Taillaut, a summons to surrender the fortress, which was 
refused ; whereupon the fire of the batteries commenced, without 
delay, about half-past 7 o'clock in the morning. 

The artillery soon got the range. Swarms of skirmishers, as 
opportunities offered during the cannonade, ran up towards the 
fort, on the sides that were not directly opposed to the fire of the 
guns, in order to operate against the infantry and gun detachments 
in the work. The artillery of the fort answered tlie fire with about 
10 guns, but produced little or no effect. 

As the fort was provided with casemates and other bombproof 
buildings, it did not suffer much ; but the houses in the town, and 
especially those near the church, were much injured, although 
they were mostly of massive construction. The artillery must 
have fired about 1,800 rounds against the fort. Once more, at 
half-past 7 in the evening, favourable terms were offered for the 
surrender of the place, tln'ough Major Eeese, but again without 
result. The commandant came out in front of the Saverne gate 
and rejected the offered terms, which were for the free departure 
of the garrison with their arms, in these words : '• Shoot on ; you 
will find soon but a heap of ashes, and myself on the last gun." 
At the same time, to prevent any misunderstanding, he gave 
notice of a salute of 15 guns in honour of the following day, the 
fete-day of the Emperor. As nothing more was to be gained, and 
the advance of the corps could not be delayed, orders were given 
for departure. The army corps reached Saarburg at 2 o'clock on 
the morning of the 15th August, and going on through Blomont 
got to Luneville on the 17th. 

Two battalions of the 51st Lower Silesian regiment remained 
before the fortress in observation. It should be added, that 
during this investment the main pipe for the supply of a portion 
of the drinking-water was discovered and destroyed. 

On the 18th and 19th August the 31st landwehr regiment, 
three battalions of the 71st landwehr regiment, a squadron of the 
Silesian reserve regiment of dragoons, and a 4-pounder battery, 
arrived to relieve the above-mentioned detachment of the Vlth 
army corps, which had been left before tlie fort, and the newly- 
arrived troops formally invested the place. 

Before the departure of the battalions of the 51st regiment, 


ColoneV Kipping, who commanded it, sent an unavailing sum- 
mons to the commandant to surrender. The fresh troops em- 
ployed in the investment were under the command of .Major Von 
Giese, whose headquarters were in Liitzelburg. The garrison were 
not idle, but made several small sorties, to harass and drive back 
their enemy. One of these was directed, on the 24th August, upon 
the village of Unter-Eichen-Baracken — "les Baraques de chenes 
d'en bas." The Prussian outposts there were driven out of the 
village, which was only recaptured from the enemy on the arrival 
of reinforcements in the course of the day. 

Similar results attended the sorties of the 25t]i and 27t]i 
August, of which the former was directed upon Mittelbronn and the 
" red houses " — the latter again against Unter-Eichen-Baracken. 

In consequence of the peculiar tactical position of the investing 
force, and the character of the ground round Pfalzburg, a light 
battery was attached to the force, at first from the Ilnd army 
corps, but it was subsequently relieved by a battery from the 
Vllltli corps. 

The enemy, in spite of this reinforcement, at 4 o'clock in 
the morning of the 24th September, made a sortie with 500 men 
against Blichelberg, and also succeeded in maintaining his position 
there for a short time. In this action the enemy lost 20 men 
wounded, and our side 8. 

The energies of the investing force were strained to the utmost. 
All round them bands of franc-tireurs sprang up, against whom fre- 
quent reconnaissances had to be made, whilst the watching of the 
garrison at the same time demanded the closest attention. For- 
tunately, during October it became possible to add to the weak 
force several companies, who had been detached for the better 
protection of the line of commimications — such, for example, as 
those to Saarburg and Saverne. An attempt was also made t3 
secure the cantonments against surprise, as far as possible, by 
constructing barricades. 

All the important events of the war — such as tlie capture of 
Strasburg, the battle of Sedan, tlie capitulation of jNIetz — were 
communicated to the commandant ; tliey had, however, no effect 
upon his conduct. 

Meanwhile, a regular siege or serious bombardment of the place 
was contemplated : the idea, however, was abandoned when the 
difficulty was considered of making a breach in works founded 
partly on rock, and of approaching the jjlace by sap. It was be- 
lieved that the enemy's morale was already shaken, and that, 
altogether, the importance of Pfalzburg was not such as to justify 
the sacrifice of time, of stores, and of troops which a siege would 

A long time elapsed w^ithout any events of importance taking 
place before the fortress, of whose internal condition, especially 
with regard to the serious diminution of provisions and consequent 
disease, tolerably accurate information seems to have been obtained. 
A bombardment of the fort was, therefore, evidently necessary, in 
order to see what effect it would produce on the enemy, who" was 
now so hardly pressed. 


This was eventually ordered for the night of the 24th-25th 
November, and three emplacements for the field-battery already 
mentioned were constructed at Weschheim, Quatre Vents, and 
Les Trois Maisons ; a subdivision at each. The fort was heavily 
bombarded, from 10 o'clock in the evening till 4 in the morning. 
The artillery of the work did not remain silent. They answered 
the fire vigorously and with energy, but, owing to the darkness, 
without inflicting any serious injury upon the investing force, who 
lost only one ofiicer and one man wounded. The result of this 
bombardment was the entire suspension of the fire of the artillery 
of the garrison upon the Prussian pickets. 

The negotiations for a surrender were not immediately brought 
about by this last bombardment, but the end was near. 

On the 12th December the place surrendered at discretion, and 
the investing force made its way in, after almost 18 weeks of ex- 
traordinarily severe and exacting toil. 52 officers and 1,839 men, 
including a considerable number of fugitives from the battles of 
Worth and ^Yeissenburg, were made prisoners : 65 guns, of which 
about 30 were rifled, and other warlike stores were captured. No 
particular written agreement was made for the surrender of the 
fortress : to this the commandant, who announced his intention of 
giving himself up in a letter conveyed to Major Von Griese by a 
deputation, would not consent. The provisions were consumed, 
and the capitulation was the result, so that the brave garrison and 
their determined commandant deserved that the endurance they 
had displayed should be recognised. It was ascertained that the 
fort had never from the first been completely provisioned, and its 
fall must have infallibly taken place earlier, but for certain 
accidental circumstances, favourable to the garrison, which happened 
at the right moment. Among these was the arrival of some 
French provision columns after the battle of Worth, and also a 
similar train, which, originally intended for Bitsch, was unable to 
reach its destination, on account of the advance of the Germans 
having rendered the country insecure, and was therefore welcomed 
at Pfalzburg. 

The town had sustained very serious damage from the 
shells. Nearly 80 buildings were destroyed by fire, and of the 
3,000 inhabitants present before the war, nearly 1,000 had taken 
to flight. The German government, therefore, allowed the town 
to receive a considerable sum, out of the proceeds of the money 
raised by contribution from the French, as compensation for losses 
sustained in the war, and to aid in rebuilding the houses. 

Plate IV. 

fA Prno TIPS S .1*. £ 



(rLATE IV.) 

Three main roads from the Ehine valley unite at the fortress 
of Bitsch, only three-quarters of a mile (tliree-and-a-half English 
miles) from the frontier of the Bavarian Palatinate, and two of 
them continue to Saar-union and Saargemlind. The place is 
on the projected line of railroad from Hagenau to Saargemiind. 
The town, with 3,000 inhabitants, extends along the western base 
of a precipitous oblong hill 90 to 100 feet high, and is cut in two 
by the Hornbach, which can be made available for inundation by 
means of sluices. The meadow-land above and below the town is 
impracticable, and equally unfavourable for forming saps or build- 
ing batteries. The country round is a barren hilly tableland, 
deficient in water, partially wooded, and only broken here and there 
by solitary scattered rocky knolls. Some of these knolls — as, for 
instance, the heights between the Weissenbourg and Strasburg 
roads — overtop the mountain-fort, and afford sites in some respects 
well adapted for batteries, to which, however, it is difficult to take 
the guns, on account of the want of roads. 

The sandstone rock, upon which the fortress is situated, was 
from the earliest times crowned with fortifications, which had to 
be razed at the peace of Ryswick. France, however, caused this 
mountain-fort to be rebuilt, by the Marquis of Bambelle, in the 
style of the period, in 1741. The most important part of the 
fortress consists of a long quadrangle, from whose four angles 
bastions project. The north front is further strengthened by a 
horn-work with a ravelin, and also by an advanced tenailled work 
farther down the slope. The escarp on the long sides is broken 
into short lengths, to obtain flank defence, and is in part hewn out 
of the rock. Some 40 or 45 feet below the upper work lies the 
lower fort. It is connected with the first by communications of 
every kind, such as ramps and staircases, and follows with its 
tenailled trace the edge of the almost perpendicular cliff. Two 
practicable roads — the one on the west, the other on the south-west 
side of the hill — lead out of the town into the upper fort, which 
they enter through gates secured by proper works, and provided 
with drawbridges. Besides these, there is, between the hill-fort 
and the town, an imdergTound passage entirely hewn or mined out 
of the rock, and said by military historians to have been used 
during the attack by the Prussians, on the 15th October 1793. 
This attack, as is well known, failed. 

The defences of the town on the south-west side consist of 


bastioned fronts with liigh revetments and deep dry ditches ; the 
entrances are so closed as to be defensible, and portions of the bridges 
are moveable. In more recent times defences on a larger scale 
have been constructed on the west side, consisting of three bas- 
tioned fronts with connecting lines on the flanks. At the north- 
west angle is situated the new citadel. It is designed with deep 
ditches with three caponiers in them, and its interior consists of a 
two-storied, massive, bombproof redoubt. A wall 25 feet high, 
with a glacis in front, joins it, and serves as a covered communica- 
tion to the fort on the hill, and this wall is flanked by the tenailled 
work of which mention has been made above. Behind the gorge 
of the citadel is the powder-magazine, completely buried in the 
ground, and thus perfectly secure from shell-fire. The remaining 
bastions are connected with one another by long curtains, and 
provided with large traverses on the capitals, which contain 
casemates of all descriptions. Bitsch has the great advantage 
over many of the small French fortresses of the possession of 
numerous well constructed casemates, which are appropriated to 
different purposes. Excepting the governor's house, the chapel, 
and a barrack on the jplace cVarines, all the buildings are bomb- 
proof; there are the most admirable casemates and underground 
chambers, which can be made use of as secure cover for the troops 
and their provisions. The well, 240 feet deep, deserves notice, 
being also arched over and bombproof. 

The relative levels of the defences are such, that not only the 
ground in front, but also the more recent advanced defences in the 
plain, are perfectly seen into by the fort on the hill ; the construc- 
tion of approaches against the fortress, or of a lodgment in the 
works lying under the chief fort, is therefore impracticable. 

At the time when the French army set out for Grermany the 
corps of Greneral Failly was stationed at Bitsch. 

On the 7th August, after the battle of Worth, a part of the right 
wing of the French army — apparently the army of MacMahon, 
Avhich subsequently appeared again at Chalons — fell back on the 
road to Bitsch, in order thence to recommence their retreat 
through the Vosges. It is not to their credit that they neglected 
to blow up the railway-tunnels behind them, a measure that would 
have done infinite injury to the Grerman army, as regarded the 
bringing-up of troops and provisions. The Grermans, after their 
victory, did not delay in following up the enemy. On the 8th 
August the Ilnd Bavarian army corps was before Bitsch. An 
attempt was made to obtain the surrender of the rock-fort, which 
was provided with a numerous garrison and armament. With 
tbis object a battery of Bavarian horse artillery formed up and 
fired a few rounds at it. The fort answered at once, and it 
very soon became apparent that the end was not to be gained in 
this fashion, without siege-batteries or heavy guns. The advance 
of the army corps could not, however, be delayed on this account, 
so that there was no choice but to march round the fortress. This 
was done in three forced marches, of which the first was to Lemberg, 
the second to Montbronn, and the third to St. Lorenzen. The 


roads traversed were, however, so bad, that, although the pioneers- 
worked at them overnight, they could only be passed by the 
infantry in file, and by the artillery with the utmost difficulty. 
We mention these marches to show how great was the influence 
of even this small fortress which lay in the line of march of the 
Grerman armies. 

Meanwhile, on the German side, the fortress was watched, siege- 
guns were brought into position from Germersheim, and the 2nd 
Bavarian regiment of field artillery was charged with the 
duty of commencing the bombardment. The field-batteries were 
in conveniently arranged emplacements covered by the ground. 
Batteries had been built for the heavy siege artillery, and the 
direction of the bombardment was given to Colonel Kohlermann. 
It was commenced on the 23rd August, and was continued during 
the following days, according to circumstances, without ever 
becoming a pitched battle of artillery. 

On the Ith September the French made a sortie with a large 
force, and a tolerably severe engagement ensued. The defenders- 
were beaten back, witli a loss of 50 killed and wounded and 17 
prisoners, while the Bavarians lost 6 killed and 10 wounded. 

It was soon seen that an energetic defence was to be en- 
countered, for which piu-pose the German force at hand was 
insufficient. Accordingly the 3rd and 8th Bavarian regiments, 
a company of Bavarian garrison artillery, and a Bavarian company 
of pioneers, arrived before the fortress as a reinforcement. The 
siege artillery comprised 16 heavy guns and 4 mortars. 

On the 10th September Colonel Kohlermann intimated that a 
bombardment of the fortress and town was imminent, and gave 
permission to the inhabitants to depart. Many of these would 
have availed themselves of the humane intention of the com- 
manding-officer of the investing force, but the commandant of 
the fortress, Lieutenant-Colonel Theyssier, interfered to some extent 
with their departure, as he -^^dshed the citizens to take part in the 

After these preliminaries the serious bombardment began, at 
half-past 5 in the morning of the 11th September. As the 
weather was clear, the fire of the siege batteries was attended with 
the best results. Firing was soon begun in the fortress, and the 
artillery of the besiegers at first kept up the fight very briskly, 
but afterwards with long intervals of silence. About 2 o'clock in 
the afternoon the fire ceased on both sides. 

On the 12 th Sejatember the bombardment of the fortress was 
continued. Towards 6 in the evening the churcli in tlie town was 
in flames, which soon spread in the small closely-built-up town, 
and between 60 and 70 houses were destroyed. During the day a 
messenger from the town appeared at the outposts, and begged of 
the commanding-officer of the investing force that the citizens 
might depart free. However, after what had taken place, as 
above stated, this could not be agreed to. 

During the night the fire on both sides slackened somewhat, 

S6996. C 


and did not become heavy again until towards the morning of the 

The results were inconsiderable, and it was not till the 14th 
September that the siege artillery succeeded in setting fire to some 
of the few destructible buildings on the place cVarmes of the 
fortress — a result, however, that did not have the smallest in- 
fluence in inducing the commandant to surrender. 

It was owing to various reasons that the final effect of this 
bombardment of four days' duration was much inferior to the results 
which we had learnt to expect from similar undertakings before 
other fortresses. I^he fort was defended by an energetic comman- 
dant, was amply provided with ammunition and provisions, and 
possessed most excellent bombproof cover for the garrison and 
stores. On the Grerman side they were now convinced that 
a bombardment alone, even on a larger scale, would not suffice for 
the attainment of the object in view. A regular siege was not 
contemplated by the Grerman military authorities, because it would 
have required a greater expenditure in materiel, troops, and stores, 
than the value of the fortress would have justified. 

Under these circumstances, it was considered advisable merely 
to observe the place from a greater distance, to prevent attacks 
of the garrison on Grerman provision and ammunition trains. 

A part of the investing force was, therefore, detailed for other 
duty, and the observation of the fortress was handed over to four 
Bavarian landwehr battalions and a light field-battery. The 
heavy siege artillery were sent back to Grermersheim. The force 
remaining before the fortress made every preparation for the 
winter. The main body went into conveniently situated canton- 
ments — some troops being held in constant readiness— and the 
supports of the outposts were put into huts erected for the 
purpose wherever required. Terrible damage was inevitably done 
to property in the afflicted town, but every alleviation that was 
practicable was now afforded to the people, both as regarded their 
maintenance and their trade ; it was, however, a question whether 
these concessions granted to the town were not made use of for the 
benefit of the French garrison, and especially for the completion of 
their stocks of provisions. 

The observation of the fortress from a greater distance was 
continued quietly, except when an occasional encounter with the 
garrison took place. 

Such an event was the sortie undertaken by the French at 
midnight on the 30th September, which was directed against the 
Rosshall farm. This place, consisting of two homesteads, was 
set on fire by the troops engaged in the sortie, who were not till 
after four hours' fighting driven back into the fortress, from which 
they sallied forth a second time at 8 o'clock on the following 
morning. It was generally believed that these two sorties were 
merely undertaken to facilitate foraging operations in the neigh- 
bourhood and the supply of provisions to the fortress, for which 
purpose there was no want of co-operation from the people of the 
country. For similar reasons, apparently, the French made a 


reconnaissance on the 19th November to Hottweiler, where a 
slight engagement took place. 

Then the winter came on, which made the duty of keeping 
guard over the fortress very severe for the investing force ; but 
their condition was so far improved, that the garrison remained 
peaceably in their works, and gave no occasion for further hos- 

In the convention agreed to between Grermany and France on 
the 11th March, 1871, which related to the restoration of the 
French prisoners of war, the necessary [stipulations were made 
with regard to the garrison of the fortress of Bitsch, which was 
given over to Germany at the conclusion of peace. It was 
allowed that the garrison of Bitsch should march out with 
all the honours of war. They were to take with them 
arms, baggage, warlike stores, and all records not belonging to the 
fortress. The surrender of the fortress was, however, delayed until 
the end of the month of March. The French garrison, about 
3,000 strong, was moved in several detachments to Versailles, 
where they arrived on the 6th April. On the 26th March detach- 
ments of the Bavarian investing force occupied the town and the 
fort, and remained until they were relieved, on the 2nd April, by 
the 1st battalion of the 60th regiment, thenceforward to be the 
Prussian garrison. 

The town had suffered much from the bombardment. Of 390 
dwelling-houses, 150 were entirely destroyed, and the rest more or 
less injured. The damage was estimated at 1,340,000 francs, 
exclusive of the loss of moveable property. 

The little fortress could boast that it was blockaded during the 
whole of the time the war lasted, and remained unconquered. It 
is, however, the fact, as we have seen, that the Germans never 
besieged it in earnest. 

C 2 



(plate v.) 

The fortress of Toul has 7,000 inhabitants, and is situated thirty- 
five (164 English) miles from Paris, on the left bank of the Moselle, 
in a valley also intersected by many smaller streams. On the 
north the fortress is commanded by the Mont St. Michel, defen- 
sively a most important position, which in the plans for the recon- 
struction of the fortress, about thirty years ago, was disregarded in 
a manner that now appears unaccountable, because the effects of 
long-range rifled guns upon siege operations were not then known. 
The road from Nancy crosses the Moselle. The work rests upon 
the river, which can be dammed up, so as to form an inundation. 
For this purpose assistance can also be obtained from the Ehine- 
Marne canal. 

The fortifications consist of a bastioned nonagon, with several 
ravelins, no flank defences in the ditch, earthen counterscarps, and 
revetted scarps. They completely encircle the town, but outside 
the works are situated the suburbs of St. Mansuy on the north- 
east, and St. Evre on the south-west. The place is rated as a 
fortress of the second class, and is built without casemates. In 
default of them some blindages for guns had been made on the 
ramparts. The garrison were lodged in private houses and huts^ 
There are no main bombproof magazines for powder. Outworks 
there are none, but some bastions are provided with cavaliers. The 
railway lies on the north-west of the town, some 500 paces from 
the fortress. The cathedral has some architectural merit. It is 
bviilt in the gothic style of the thirteenth and fourteenth cen- 
turies, and has four magnificent towers and very fine stained-glass 

Although the fortress placed no important obstacle in the way 
of the advance of the Ilird army, still the transport of supplies 
and stores of every description was much delayed, in spite of the 
use made of the numerous bye-roads, and ran some risk from the 
attacks of marauding gardes-mobiles and franc-tireurs. The con- 
veyance of the sick and wounded to the rear became continually 
more difficult as the army advanced, and the time was indefinitely 
postponed when it would be possible for the transport department 
to bring to the front, as rapidly as. was desired, the artillery stores 
of all descriptions required for the contemplated siege of Paris. 
Our complete and excellent railway organisation became paralysed 
at Toul, so that even at this time it had been considered whether a 
line branching off from Frouard should not be constructed. Thus, 

Plate. V. 

- Fapyrotype S.M.E. 


from the undeniable present strategical importance of the fortress, 
the occupation of Toul had become for us a necessity. 

On the 14th August the head of the advance guard of the 
4th cavalry division appeared before the place, and, after a slight 
engagement with the cavalry of the garrison (cuirassiers and geus- 
d'armes), summoned the place to surrender, but in vain. For this 
purpose Lieutenant the Prince of Hohenlohe was sent with a flag 
of truce ; he was fired upon. 

The advanced guard of the IVth army corps, coming up at this 
jimcture, received orders to make a reconnaissance in force towards 
Toul. The bearer of a flag of truce sent on before returned without 
having achieved any results, and the trumpeter who accompanied 
him was shot. On the 17th August two Prussian batteries were placed 
in position — one under the hill of St. Michel, the other on the road 
by Grondreville to Nancy — on the east of the fortress. They shelled 
the place, and fire soon broke out at the Moselle gate. The formation 
of the ground in the immediate neighbourhood, and the inundation 
that had been made, apart from the strength of the fortifications, 
made it impracticable to carry the place by storm. This demon- 
stration caused considerable losses, especially to the 27th and 93rd 

Upon this the army corps resumed its advance, and orders 
were issued from the headquarters of the Ilird army for a close 
investment of the place by the 7th Bavarian brigade under General 
Thiereck, two squadrons of light cavalry, and two field batteries. 
Of the Prussians, the corps artillery of the Vlth corps and the 38th 
regiment of Silesian fusiliers, under the command of Lieutenant- 
General von Gfordon, stayed behind to assist the Bavarians. 

The Prussian batteries were placed in well-covered positions on 
the slopes of the hills, near the village of Dommartin ; the Bavarian 
batteries on Mont St. Michel and at the village of La Justice, which 
joins on to and is a suburb of the town. The French allowed the 
batteries to be prepared unmolested, although a sortie of the 
garrison might have been advantageously directed against them. 
The distance of all the batteries from the place was nearly the 
same — about 2,500 paces. Orders were issued by H.R.H. the 
Commander-in-Chief to spare the town, and especially the cathe- 
dral. P^or this reason, and also because it was desired to obtain 
the surrender of the fortress without bombardment, Colonel 
Arnold, of the 6th Prussian regiment of field artillery, 
was sent into the place with a flag of truce. He was referred to 
the council of war, and brought back the reply that they would 
not listen to proposals for a capitulation. It was then observed 
that the preparation of the defences for a siege was not completed, 
as was indeed generally the case. Neither the railway-works nor 
the houses in the neighbourhood, shutting in the fortifications, 
"were destroyed or removed. The plantations left standing on 
the glacis did certainly prevent the besiegers from seeing into 
the work, but the view from INIont St. Michel was entirely unin- 

On the 23rd August, at 8.45 a.m., the bombardment began, 


and was directed at first solely against the works, but afterwards 
upon the town. A barrack and a forage-store were set on fire, 
and unfortunately also a military hospital near the barrack was 
burnt down. Five of these hospitals had been marked con- 
spicuously by the French with white flags with the red cross upon 

Lieutenant-Colonel von Hartmann was sent with a second flag 
of truce to the fortress, accompanied by two civilians, but without 
results, and the firing, therefore, was resumed. Meanwhile the 
Prussian artillery received orders to follow the Ilird army in their 
advance to Chalons, whilst the Bavarian batteries continued their 
operations before the fortress. Unfortunately, it was not possible 
to spare the towers of the cathedral, for one of them was used as 
an observatory by the French garrison. The shot, however, struck 
only the flat roof of the tower, and destroyed some architectural 
decorations, but without in any way injuring the beautiful fabric 
of the building. The French responded at first with moderate 
vigour, and fired against the German batteries, from their heavy 
guns, every description of projectile applicable — round-shot, shell, 
and shrapnel. 

The French chassepot bullets fell in the Grerman batteries, 
showing the great range of these weapons. Altogether there must 
have been fired against tlie fortress some 600 rounds from the 
Bavarian guns, and about 2,500 from the Prussian. 

On the capitulation of Sedan the intelligence of that event 
was communicated to the commandant. Meanwhile direc- 
tions had been given to use against the fortress heavy smooth- 
bore garrison guns, to be brought up to Toul from Marsal. 
The transport of the guns over the slippery country roads, made 
soft by rain, and up to the elevated sites of the batteries, was a 
matter of much difficulty. 

The place was only invested by the landwehr garrison regi- 
ment of Torgau, under the command of Colonel von Hippel. It 
was the supposition that a larger body of troops was present 
for this purpose that prevented the enemy from making sorties. 
He confined himself entirely to observation, ai^d to sending out 
the usual patrols. 

Special mention should be made of the bombardment which 
took place on the 9th and 10th September, after one more useless 
summons to surrender. On the last day nearly 1,000 rounds were 
fired during nine hours. The batteries were placed on both sides 
of the road to Ecrouves, not far from the porcelain-factorj'-. 

But this attempt to make use of the garrison artillery, that 
had arrived, seemed not to produce the effect desired, owing to the 
invariably long range, the want of made-up ammunition, and the 
small striking force of the projectiles. The garrison expected relief 
from a force said to be 5,000 strong, and to be coming up 
from Langres. 

On the 1 3th September tlie 1 7th division, under the command 
of Lieutenant-Gfeneral von Schimmelmann, being considerably 
strengthened in field artillery, relieved the landwehr troops, and 


advanced their outposts much nearer the fortress, in order by degrees 
to shut the garrison in more closely, and, as far as possible, to pre- 
vent them from communicating with the suburbs. This operation 
was not, however, to be accomplished without loss, for the enemy, 
bringing a well-directed fire from wall-pieces to bear, resisted the 
assailants to the uttermost. A reconnaissance of the ground round 
the fortress, in which his Royal Highness the Grand Duke of 
Mecklenbm'g himself took part, made it evident that the place 
could be seen into from Mont Michel in a manner scarcely 

On the Prussian side they went at once to work to place three 
heavy field-batteries on Mont Michel, a task which, laborious as it 
was, was accomplished by the artillery in one night, so that the 
guns were able to open fire by the following morning. The fire was 
directed on the covered emplacements for guns on the defences, 
and against the observatory on the cathedral. It was interesting 
here to observe with what precision the artillery fired, although 
the distance was 1,900 paces. The second shell fell right on the 
roof of the magnificent church, and knocked the objectionable 
observatory from its place. 

On September 16th Captain von Rochow, of the cavalry, was 
sent with a flag of truce into the fortress, but without result. As 
on former occasions, he was fired upon. 

On the next day, as well as on September 18th, the whole of 
the field-batteries were employed — namely, four Mecklenburg and 
three Prussian batteries, which had meanwhile been placed in 
separate positions around the fortress : on the one hand to harass 
the garrison, for which purpose they fired alternately at the bar- 
racks and at the observatory, which was again and again replaced ; 
and, on the other hand, to reply shot for shot to the fortress, in 
order to silence its batteries, which was also done in a short time. 

On September 16th, orders were received for the removal of a 
brigade of infantry, the 75th and 76th Hanseatic regiments, the 
cavalry, except one regiment of dragoons, and the whole of the 
light field-batteries. The remainder were, however, considered 
sufficient for the capture of the fortress. 

There were left before the place only seven battalions of in- 
fantry, of the 89th and 90tli Mecklenburg regiments, and the 14th 
jager battalion, besides a company of pioneers, three heavy and 
one horse artillery battery, and a regiment of cavalry, the 18th 
Mecklenburg dragoons. As the force was so reduced, the invest- 
ment of the place had to be kept up with redoubled vigilance. 
The outpost duties of the troops, therefore, obviously necessitated 
great exertions. These duties were, nevertheless, materially 
increased, when the siege artillery arrived before Toul on September 
20, with a complete siege-train, consisting of ten rifled 24-pounders 
and sixteen rifled 12-pounders, under the command of Lieutenant- 
Colonel Bartsch, and when, on the 21st and 22nd September, suffi- 
cient means being at hand, they were able to proceed to the estab- 
lishment of the depot and the construction of the batteries. 
Moreover, the preparations above mentioned for the engineer 


attack, imder the direction of Major Schumann, of the engineers, 
required a veiy considerable number of men. The field-officer 
named had been present before Toul for some time, and had taken 
in hand the most necessary reconnaissances. He had perceived 
that bastion No. 2 was unmistakably the point for attack, and in 
consequence of the simple character of the profile, and the inva- 
riable Aveakness of the artillery of the defence (which had become 
more obvious during the progress of the siege), had proposed an 
abridged formal attack. The idea was to open a parallel some 
500 paces from the work, making a covered communication only, 
•where necessary, and then advance direct on the breach, which 
was to be made by curved fire. It was hoped that the water in 
the ditch of the work might be drawn off by blowing up certain 
sluices, or by breaching a batardeau that had been discovered with 
much pains. By his direction Lieutenant Strobel, of the com- 
pany of Bavarian pioneers, stationed in Ecrouves as an ' Etappen ' 
garrison, had very cleverly blown up a sluice. This demolition, 
however, did not produce the desired effect. 

In order that tlie projected works might be executed in safety, 
the outposts were pushed up as close as possible to the ramparts, 
and all the suburbs — viz. St. Just, St. Evre, and Mansuy — were 
occupied. The operation of forming a lodgment was, however, 
interfered with by the shells of tlie enemy, which set the villages 
on fire in some places, and inflicted considerable loss on the troops 
engaged. Two battalions of infantry, besides the whole of the 
artillery and the pioneers, were required for the formation of the 
battery depots and the construction of ten siege-batteries, and 
by an extraordinary effort the latter were got ready to open 
fire early on the 23rd. From the first no great results were 
anticipated from the fire of the siege artillery. The enemy had, 
indeed, answered the fire of our guns, though not with much 
vigour. The fire was especially feeble from the mortars, which 
could not be got at by the Prussians. This scanty mortar-fire 
must, however, be considered as a measure of prudence on the part 
of the defenders, in order to preserve their guns until the last mo- 
ment. Now, however, they showed with what force they could 
reply, so that it became our object to reduce them to silence as 
soon as possible. 

H.E.H. the Grrand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, com- 
manding the 13th army corps, had arrived at Choloy from 
Rheims on the night of the 23rd, in order to be present at the 
close of the siege. Mont Barine, near Mont St. jMichel, was 
used as a point of observation, H.R.H. the Grrand Duke and 
Greneral von Schimmelmann remained there to watch the events 
expected to take place ; the batteries proceeded with their 
allotted tasks during the morning ; the breaching battery acted 
chiefly as a counter-battery, as a clump of trees and houses 
prevented it from performing its legitimate duty. The enemy 
answered the fire principally with mortars, for the other pieces 
on the ramparts were soon silenced. Several military buildings 
and magazines took fire ; it was also observed what good results 
attended the artillery practice on the porte de la France. On the 


other hand, the enemy's shells, about 11 o'clock in the forenoon, 
set the suburbs of Mansuy and St. Evre in flames, both of which 
were occupied by the Germans. 

All arrangements had been made, in order, with tlie help of 
the men available, to throw up, on the night of the 24th, the 
parallel, of which the position had already iDeen determined by 
the engineer officers, when, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, it 
was reported that the white flag waved on the cathedral. The 
flag was but small, and it could not therefore be made out, with 
certainty, whether there was not a red cross on it. Recently the 
enemy had often resorted to the jilan of hoisting a flag of this 
kind near the ramparts, for the purpose of repairing any injuries 
clone to the guns. 

The waving of a white flag on the cathedral had, however, 
been agreed upon as a signal that the Commandant was willing 
to enter into negotiations. H.R.H. the Grrand Duke had, 
before the arrival of this intelligence, gone from ]Mont Barine for 
a short time to Choloy. On receipt of the news, His Royal High- 
ness and his staff at once mounted their horses, and rode to the 
scene of action. On the way to Toul he met Major (Command- 
ing) von Zeuner, who was bringing with liim a French staff- 
officer, on horseback, with his eyes bandaged. This officer brought 
a letter from the commandant, announcing his willingness to 
treat with the Greneral of the North German Confederation. 
Colonel von Krensky, Chief of the general staff of the Xlllth 
army corps, was accordingly sent for this purpose to the com- 
mandant of the fortress of Toul, and on the glacis of the work 
the negotiations for a capitulation were brought to a successful 
conclusion, on the basis of tlie terms granted at Sedan. The 
French garrison — some 2,300 men, including a few line soldiers, 
but most of them gardes mobiles, with 130 cuirassiers — filed out 
of the fortress on to the glacis in front of the Porte de la 
France ; whilst the troops of the division, or as many of them as 
could be got together, marched with great demonstrations of joy 
into the fortress and the town. The prisoners were moved into 
bivouac near the fortress. Of the 109 officers, as many as gave 
their parole not to serve any more against Prussia were allowed to 
depart, and the remainder were kept in the fortress under the 
guarantee of the commandant. The quantity of military stores 
captured was considerable, and included 30,000 stand of arms, 
120 guns, 150,000 cartridges, and other things, besides a flag and 
some standards. On the 25th, at 11 a.m., the formal entry 
into the town took place, under the command of H.R.H. the 
Grand Duke of Mecklenburg and his Highness the Duke of 
Altenburg. The troops paraded in the Place Dauphine, where 
the Grand Duke caused a cheer to be given for the Com- 
mander-in-Chief, His Majesty the King. The inhabitants had 
been shut up in the fortress for six weeks, and the North German 
troops were welcomed by them as deliverers. The garrison had 
conducted themselves with extreme bravery. They only yielded 
when they had fired their last shell. 



(plate VI.) 

Laon, a town of 10,500 inhabitants, is situated on an isolated hill 
about 80 metres (262 feet) high, which commands the Ardon, an 
affluent of the Ailette. It is at the junction of four railways, of 
which two come from the north-east and the south-east, from 
Belgimn and from Eheims ; while the other two lead on to the 
westward, to Terg-nier (for Namur, Amiens, and Paris), and to 
Soissons (for Paris). Besides this, the roads from Montcornet, 
Vervins, Crecy sur Serre, Crepy, Chauny, Coucy, Vailly, Fismes, 
and Kethel all meet in Laon, so that it is one of the most important 
points for an army operating against Paris. Laon might have been 
a rendezvous for the gardes nationales and gardes mobiles, and 
from it they could have continually disturbed our communications 
with the rear. It is situated at a distance of 140 kilometres (87 
English miles) from Paris by the Soissons road, and 158 kilometres 
(98 English miles) by Tergnier. 

The isolated hill on which Laon is situated is shaped like a 
half-moon, with the horns to the east. 

The citadel, which was strengthened under Louis Philippe, is 
on the eastern point of the hill, and commands in part the railway 
station (the only one) on the north of the town, near the suburb 
of St. Marcel, and to a less extent the suburbs of La Neuville 
and Semilly, lying to the westward and southward ; but more 
especially the ground lying opposite to the east front, with the 
suburbs of Vaux and d' Ardon. 

A section of the 15th (ulan) regiment had summoned the com- 
mandant of the garrison of Laon to surrender on the 8th September, 
and he had asked for time for consideration till 4 o'clock in the 
afternoon. When the news of this reached the 6th cavalry dirision, 
Colonel von Alvensleben'was sent to Laon with the 15th cavalry 
brigade and a mounted battery, and took with him a treaty of 
capitulation, ready drawn out. To Colonel von Alvensleben the 
commandant again made objections, and begged for further time 
for consideration, till 9 o'clock on the morning of the 9th 
September. The 4th jager battalion had been brought up the 
day before as far as Eppes, and a battery of the 4th corps had 
marched into St. Quentin. On the 9th September, at 6 a.m., the 
14th cavalry brigade and a horse artillery battery also started for 
Laon. ' On his arrival at Eppes Colonel von Alvensleben reported 
that the capitulation was concluded, and that the citadel, with all 
the troops and military stores, would be given over to the division 
about half-past 1 1 o'clock. 

Plate Vf. 

papyrotype, s. m e 


Probably the cause of this hasty and unexpected surrender was 
the open dissension between the commandant, the prefect, the 
mayor and the gardes mobiles, which was such that none of the 
authorities mentioned would trust one anotlier ; and this, con- 
sidering the state of affairs, was undoubtedly a great evil. 

The division marched into Laon, both batteries took up a 
position before the town, and the 14th cavalry brigade formed 
up next to them. The 15th cavalry brigade had previously 
occupied all the roads round Laon, and remained in their position. 
The jager battalion detached a company to occupy the suburbs ; 
two companies marched up to the marketplace of Laon, and 
occupied all the outlets ; the 4th company marched with the 
divisional staff and the staffs of the two brigades to the citadel. 
The heads of the ' Intendant ' department and Captain Mann, of 
the horse artillery battery, also accompanied them — the former to 
take over the general stores, the latter the garrison guns and ma- 
teriel of war. 

At the entrance of the citadel there was a guard of the gardes 
mobiles, which was at once relieved by a section of the jagers. In 
the courtyard of the citadel was stationed the garrison — consisting 
of about 2,000 men of the gardes mobiles, and one subdivision of 
infantry of the line of the 55th regiment — ready to march off. 

The capitulation then took place, on the basis of that of Sedan. 
All the officers who gave their word of honour not to take further 
part against Grermany were allowed to leave. The arms were laid 
down, and the gardes mobiles, after they had bound themselves by 
oath not to fight any more against Grermany, were let go. Finally 
the party of infantry of the line were conducted to the town under 
escort. A great part of the officers, as well as the commandant 
himself, remained behind in the courtyard of the citadel, when, 
as soon as the last man of the gardes mobiles had passed 
the gate of the citadel, about two o'clock in the afternoon, 
two terrible explosions took place, one immediately after the 

The powder-magazine, into which probably all the shells and 
grenades had been brought, Avith 26,000 kilogrammes'^ of powder 
in bulk, besides all the cartridges, blew up, and apparently also a 
mine. The magazine stood at the edge of the courtyard of the 
citadel. All the persons present in the courtyard, as well as 
the company of jagers posted there, were almost buried under 
the earth and rubbish. The shells, loose stones, and fragments of 
masonry iBew right into and beyond the suburbs lying beneath 
Laon, and injured men, houses, and roofs. The destruction was 
frightful. Almost every person in the courtyard of the citadel at 
the time was either killed or wounded — some severely, and some 
slightly. The half-company of jagers lay on the parade-ground 
horribly mutilated, and 40 of them were killed on the spot. Duke 
William of Mecklenburg, commanding the division. Colonel Count 
Grroben, Major von Schonfels, of the general staff, and Lieutenant 
Count Koss, of the King's hussars, were more or less wounded. 

* 26 tons, or 585 barrels. 


Captain Mann, the only officer on horseback at the moment, was 

The commandant, General Theremin d'Hame, was arraigned 
before a Prussian court-martial, but, however, no blame for the 
unhappy event could be brought home to him. Probably it had 
been caused by a subaltern of garrison artillery named Henriot, 
actuated by revenge, who had found means to obtain the key of 
the powder-magazine. At the same time he himself perished. 
General Theremin d'Hame died on the 14th October, of the wound 
he had received from the explosion. 

The booty consisted of 35 guns (of which 8 were rifled 
1 6-pounders) 2,000 stand of arms, and a quantity of other warlike 

The town had to pay a contribution of 100,000 francs (4,000^.). 


Plate Vn 




(plate VII.) 

Strasburg, the capital of Alsace, with 85,000 inhabitants, lies 
about half a league from the Rhine on the river 111, which has 
abundance of water, is navigable, and divides itself into five streams. 
It is a fortress of the highest military importance. It commands 
the passage over tlie Rhine into Grermany, and has on that account 
been connected with Metz and Paris on the one side, and with 
Lyons on the other side, by railways, roads, and canals. It is> 
moreover, an important cavalry depot, and contains a gun-factory, 
and an arsenal for the manufacture of carriages and artillery 

The nucleus of the defences is the citadel, with its five bastioned 
fronts, built by Marshal Vauban in 1685 ; and this is further 
strengthened by two advanced hornworks, and a number of smaller 
works down to the Rhine, which is here 500 yards in width. These 
command the enceinte. On the north and south the town 
is enclosed by an enceinte with long curtains and spacious bastions, 
on the system of Specie, which terminate on the parade-ground 
outside the citadel. At the places where the National gate and 
the Stone gate are situated, the defences project further out 
into the country, so as to cover the roads from Wasselonne and 
Molsheim, and particularly that from Weissenburg, by means 
of advanced earthworks, among which are the lunettes 52 and 53, 
often mentioned in the siege. The main enceinte of the west 
front is of the same character as the lines already described, 
except that bastions Nos. 10, 11, and 12, at the north-west angle, 
have counterguards for additional security. Two spacious horn- 
works are placed outside the west front, so as to give it greater 
defensive strength. These and the two lunettes 52 and 53 are 
connected by a glacis common to both, which encloses the north 
and south fronts in a suitable manner. The profiles are designed 
with regard to the objects of the works. The escarps are 18 to 30 
feet in height, according to the importance of the work. On this 
account, and as the ditches are provided with cunettes, and can be 
filled with sufficient water, the fortress is to be accounted every- 
where proof against assault. The greater number of the traverses 
required are in existence, but the quantity of bombproof cover 
for troops, warlike stores, and provisions is insufiicient. There are 
no detached forts. 


Strasburg" possesses an additional means of defence in the 
power of making use of the 111 for partial but effective inunda- 
tion. For this purpose, at the spot where the 111 enters the town, 
a large sluice is fixed. This, and the numerous other works for 
the proper management and control of the water, are in good con- 
dition, and in situations so well covered, that they cannot easily 
be destroyed by distant fire. The ground in front of the south 
side of the fortress consists for the most part of low-lying meadows 
intersected by numerous watercourses. It can be placed under 
water for a considerable distance beyond the road, and the artillery 
practice ground. This is also practicable with the low ground 
along the foot of the glacis of the north front, and with the glacis 
of the enceinte of the north-west front. 

The ground in front of the fortress is flat, and here and there 
the view is interrupted by numerous buildings, and by plantations. 

On the west front, however, the ground rises, at a slope 
scarcely perceptible, to the spurs of the Vosges mountains, about 
a league and a half from the town. 

The railway Avhich encircles the town on the south and west 
has two stations — a terminus inside the town, and a stopping-place 
outside, at the Austerlitz gate. There is a third station outside 
the town to the westward. Frequent mention will be made of it 
during the siege. The railway crosses several streams running 
into the Ehine, and passes over the river itself by a lattice- 
bridge, 309 metres (338 yards) long, built in 1858-61. The two 
banks are also connected by a bridge of boats. 

The interior of the town shows plainly its German origin and 
past history. Both are as evident in its architecture as in the 
manners and customs, both public and private, of its inhabitants. 
The magnificent cathedral is especially interesting, and is famous 
as one of the most remarkable monmnents of Grerman archi- 
tecture. It was founded in 510 by Clovis, destroyed by lightning 
in 1007, restored upon the plans of Erwin von Steinbach, and 
completed in 1439 by Hans Hiiltz, of Cologne. 

Commerce is flourishing, owing to the advantages of the 
situation of the place. The junction of four lines of railway, 
and of the roads from Paris, Lyons, and Basle, the water-carriage 
by the Ehone, Rhine and Marne canal, and the proximity of the 
Rhine, are of great value for commercial intercourse. 

Immediately after the sudden and groundless declaration of 
war with Prussia by France, it seemed as if Strasburg was to be 
left untouched by the war, for it was evident that the French 
invasion of Germany and attack on Cologne must be begun with 
the right flank turned towards Rhenish Bavaria. But when 
Southern Germany ranged itself on the Prussian side, the situa- 
tion of affairs was changed. It became necessary for the French 
armies to march off hastily in a new direction, and it became 
more probable that Strasburg might be seriously threatened. All 
the accounts state that before the battle of Worth, the 6th corps, 
under the command of Marshal Canrobert, was in and round 
Strasburg. After the battle was lost the corps marched off in 


the direction of Metz, and the garrison of Strasbmg was thus so 
reduced that the place was left in a bad plight. Not even one 
company of engineers was left in the now-threatened fortress, and 
its garrison consisted chiefly of national guards. A great 
number of stragglers from the battle of Worth found ac- 
cordingly a welcome reception at Strasburg, and its gates also 
opened for the reception of many thousands of fugitive country- 
people. The bridge of boats was broken up, and on the 22nd of 
July the railway lattice-bridge was blown up on the Baden side 
of the river. On the French side they only brought the swing- 
bridge on to the landward piers, and, in addition, destroyed 
several railway-bridges over the Little Ehine, at Neuhof and 
elsewhere. The preparations for putting the works and arma- 
ments in a state of siege were, just commenced, when the enemy 
appeared in the vicinity of the fortress. 

After the battle fought by the Ilird army on the 6th August, 
at Worth, the pursuit of the retreating French was the first 
object. The division of the Gfrand Duchy of Baden, which stood 
on the extreme left of the army, and had not been actually 
engaged in the fight, received orders to advance into Alsace, and 
in the first instance in the direction of Strasburg. 

On the 8th August the head of the division arrived before 
Strasburg. It was believed that the fortress was occupied almost 
exclusively by national guards, and it was well known that the 
preparation of the works for a siege was incomplete. Lieutenant- 
General von Beyer, commanding the division, remained with the 
main body of the advanced guard a league and a half from 
Strasburg, and sent Major von Amerongen into the fortress, in 
order to represent to the commandant the serious disasters of the 
French army in the field, and to demand the surrender of the 
place. Tlie commandant, however, rouglily refused the demand, 
and after this the advanced guard employed upon this recon- 
naissance withdrew to Brumath. The garrison permitted the 
enemy to advance undisturbed up to the glacis, and made no 
attempt to destroy the railways or telegraphs to Miihlhaus and 
Lyons, and this was now effected by us. A cavalry detachment of 
the Grrand Duchy of Baden, under the command of Lieutenant 
Winsloe, on the 10th August destroyed the railway at Greispold- 
sheim, three-quarters of a mile (three-and-a-half English miles) 
south of Strasburg. Meanwhile the main body of the division 
approached, so that on the 12th August the troops had taken up 
their positions for the investment. These extended round the 
whole of the ground outside the fortress, except on the south side, 
where the work was done by some bodies of troops from Eastatt, 
who had crossed the Ehine to the south of Strasburg. Kehl was 
occupied, and the communication with Colmar broken. The 
French did not allow themselves to be disturbed in their prepara- 
tions for a siege, on the glacis and the ground beyond. They 
worked on at the construction of traverses, the preparation of the 
ramparts for defence, and the removal of the plantations on the 
glacis, as well as at palisades and barricades for the approaches. 


For the purpose of interrupting these works three slight engage- 
ments took place on the 13th August. 

In the course of the afternoon some selected marksmen were 
sent up to the glacis, and materially interrupted the works there, 
without being disturbed by the heavy fire of artillery from the 
ramparts. About 1 a.m. a company of the 2nd Baden grenadiers 
(the King of Prussia's) advanced in the same direction, in order 
to drive back some parties of infantry, who had meanwhile come 
out from the fortress to the foot of the glacis. A musketry fight 
commenced, and by tliis means the object was successfully ac- 
complished. The company, after the performance of their duty, 
were, in returning, followed by a lieavy fire of case and musketry, 
and had three killed and eleven wounded — among the latter one 

In another direction two small detachments of the body 
guard grenadiers of the Crrand Duchy of Baden, each led by 
a lieutenant, and provided with combustibles, advanced at 9 
o'clock in the evening against the railway-station outside the 
western gate, and set fire to a loaded railway-train that was stand- 
ing there. Two sections of infantry followed quickly up to the 
counterscarp of the ditch, delivered their fire at the troops who 
appeared on the ramparts and at the guns standing there, and 
quickly retired again. A field-battery meanwhile was brought up 
to 2,500 paces from the fortress, and fired upon the works which 
were lighted up by the flaming railway-trucks. The enemy upon 
this commenced a persistent but perfectly useless fire. At a 
third place, as early as 11 o'clock in the forenoon, a company of 
the 5th (Baden) regiment had been for an hour under fire em- 
ployed in the demolition of the enemy's works without experiencing 
any loss. 

On the 14th August intelligence was received of the issue, on 
the 10th of that month, of the following proclamation by the 
Commandant-in~Chief, Divisional-General Uhrich : — 

" To the Inhabitants of Strasburg! 

" Disquieting rumours, and fearful reports, have been, inten- 
tionally or unintentionally, spread through our brave city. Some 
people have even ventured to assert that it will surrender without 

" We therefore protest, in the name of the courageous French 
population, against such cowardly and criminal weakness. The 
ramparts are furnished with 400 guns; the garrison counts 11,000 
men, besides national guards. If Strasburg be attacked, Stras- 
burg will be defended so long as it contains a soldier, a loaf, and 
a cartridge. Let the well-disposed be calm ; let the others go 
where they will. 

"Strasburg, August 10th, 1870. 

" The Divisional-General and Commander-in-Chief, 

" Uhrich. 

" The Prefect of the Lower Ehine, 

" Baron Pron." 


On the 14th August, at 5 o'clock in the morning, a com- 
pany of tlie 5th (Baden) regiment attacked the railway-station, 
and opened tire from the railway embankment upon the workmen 
on the glacis. The fire was answered by some of the guns of the 
place, and the company suffered a loss of three severely and two 
slightly wounded. 

In the course of the day General von Beyer gave over the 
command of the (Baden) division to Greneral the Baron von 
La Roche, commanding the cavalry brigade. The division was 
placed under the orders of Lieutenant-Gfeneral von Werder, of the 
Prussian Army, Commander-in-Chief of the army corps about to 
be formed for the siege. 

In the evening the garrison attempted a sortie in the neigh- 
bourhood of the English country-house near Hohnheim. 

On the 15th August, at 4 a.m., the Baden pioneers blew up 
the iron bridge wliich leads over the Rhine-Marne canal to 
Robertsaue, below the orangery. Field artillery fired from covered 
positions at the works of defence that had been thrown up, in 
order to destroy them, while under cover of tlie darkness riflemen 
swarmed close up to the ramparts, causing frequent alarms to the 
garrison. Lingolfsheim, Wolfsheim, Schiltiglieim, and Robertsaue 
were already occupied by tlie besiegers, so that the place was 
closely invested on the west and north, and on the south as far as to 
Ostwald. In their possession were the railway-stations of Brumath 
(to Nancy and Metz), Mutzig, and Colmar, and the highroads to 
Sels, Hagenau, Zabern, Barre, Colmar, and Basle. The commu- 
nications of Strasburg with the country were as good as cut off. 
It was suspected that an underground telegraph line existed to 
Schlettstadt, 7^ miles (35 English miles) distant. 

August 16. — Head-quarters transferred to Mundolsheim. 

About 2 o'clock in the afternoon the French attempted a sortie 
in greater force, with about 1,500 men, in order to drive back the 
enemy near Illkirch, a league south-east of Strasburg. The 8th 
•company of the 3rd (Baden) regiment, under Captain Kappler, had 
pushed forward a picket from Illkirch over the bridge of the Rhone 
canal at that place. About 2 p.m. a French squadron attacked 
them, but were repulsed. Immediately the enemy's infantry showed 
themselves, while a heavy fire was opened against the bridge over 
the canal ; and a detachment of the enemy's artillery shelled 
Illkirch from a position in rear, and set fire to some of the build- 
ings there. At the commencement of this attack Captain Kappler 
had posted his whole company on the bridge of the canal, and 
sent forward two strong non-commissioned officers' patrols by 
Orafensteden, and by the locks to the northward at Ostwald 
respectively, to take the enemy in flank. Major Steinwacbs, 
commanding the battalion, sent immediately out of Ostwald the 
5th and 6th companies, under Captains Nagel and Selteneck, as 
well as Gobel's battery. Kappler's company had for half-an-hour 
answered the enemy's fire with great coolness and steadiness, when 
the enemy's artillery advanced to within 250 paces of the bridge 
over the canal, and came into action. The commander of the 

36996. D 


company then caused a short and rapid, but effective, fire to 
be delivered, and, as the supports had by this time come up, 
attacked with the bayonet. The enemy did not stand to receive 
this attack, but took to flight, leaving behind 3 guns, 8 wounded 
and 3 unwounded prisoners, and 20 killed, as well as several 
articles of their equipment. This brilliant success cost the brave 
company but 2 wounded. A subdivision of (robel's battery now 
crossed the bridge over the canal and shelled Weghaiisel, in 
which place the enemy had rallied on his retreat. The 5th 
and 6th companies, who then undertook the pursuit, could not 
again come up with the enemy, who were estimated to amount to 
about 1,500 men — zouaves, turcos, chasseurs, and artillery. 

Augicst 17. — The French attempted a second sortie against the 
Eobertsaue, but were beaten back. On the Grerman side tlie most 
exposed parts of the besiegers' positions were prepared for defence 
in a proper and suitable manner, and the approaches were 
barricaded. Field-hospitals were established in Brumath, Ven- 
denheim, Oberhausbergen, and Hohnheim. Prussian railway and 
Baden telegraph officials took over the duties of their respective 
branches. The neighbourhood was requisitioned for labourers and 
intrenching tools, and in some places resistance was made and ill- 
will was shown. This was the case in the rich towns of Ernstein and 
Morstein, whicli had in consequence to pay a contribution, 
first of 150,000 francs (^^6,000), and in the end of 300,000 francs 

In the forenoon fire was opened from the Baden field^batteries, 
which had taken up a position in a line with Kehl. The fire 
■continiied all day, and was briskly answered by the garrison. 
During the previous night a sharp action of artillery and in- 
fantry took place between Konigshofen and Strasburg, and out- 
side the west front. Several houses were set on fire there by the 

August 18. — Konigshofen was consequently brought within 
the line of investment, after a short action of artillery. The 
fire from Kehl was continued. On the night of the 18th- 19th 
August tlie Baden artillery took up a position close to the road 
from Lingolfsheim to Strasburg, and set on fire some of the houses 
at Strasburg at the first shot, and the flames spread rapidly. 
The enemy answered with 24-poimder solid shot. 

August 19.^The fire was kept up from 16 field-guns, chiefly 
against the citadel and the adjoining fronts. It was opened at 
7 A.M., stopped from 12 till 2 o'clock, and continued again till 

The fire was of com-se answered by the artillery of the garrison, 
who, however, shelled not only the batteries, but also the town of 
Kehl, which lay exposed, beyond the line of fire. Lieutenant-Oene- 
ral von Werder, commanding the siege corps, remonstrated against 
this conduct in a letter, in which he said : " Such a mode of war- 
fare, which is imheard of among civilised nations, compels me to 
make yoii personally responsible for the consequences of this action. 
I shall, moreover, cause the damage to be estimated, and obtain com- 
pensation by a contribution levied in Alsace." 


These valuations were, in fact, made in Kehl,and General Uhrich 
is said to have replied that he regarded the bombardment of the 
city of Kehl as reprisals, on account of the city of Strasbm-g having 
been shelled by the besiegers' artillery without the usual notice 
being sent beforehand. According to other accounts, however (and 
this should be noted), Lieutenant-General von Werder, on the con- 
trary, threatened to bombard the place foiu'teen days beforehand, 
and caused the proper notice to be sent 24 hours before the firing 
began. It was clearly, therefore, the business of the French authori- 
ties to pass this notice on to the citizens, and it was their fault that 
the inhabitants had not sufficient time to prepare for the bombard- 
ment, and were therefore taken by surprise. 

It should, moreover, be observed, that in the absence of any de- 
tached forts round Strasburg, the besieger was able to place his 
batteries comparatively close to the fortress, and that, if he wanted 
to fire upon the works at all, it was quite inevitable that the town 
should also be struck, and should suffer terribly. 

On the 19th of August fom'teen houses were biu-nt down in 
the city of Kehl (Stadt Kehl), and the fire did still greater damage, 
comparatively, in the adjoining village of Kehl (Dorf Kelil). In 
the former place the church was turned into a hospital. Several 
shells fell close to the Baden temporary hospital constructed in 
Dorf Kehl. 

In the part of Kehl near the Khine, especially in the neighbour- 
hood of the Fingach brewery, the brewery itself, the Palmen 
brewery, and several houses of the inhabitants of the upper classes, 
were destroyed. The Manner-Hilfsverein (? Humane Society) of 
Kehl worked with great self-sacrifice at extinguishing the flames, 
and those of the inhabitants who could sought refuge in the neigh- 
bouring villages. 

The bombardment of Strasbm-g from the left bank of the Ehine 
continued, and the result was that a more serious fire broke out in 
the Weisse Thurmgasse (White Tower street). The desire, on this 
account, of the inhabitants for a surrender was brought to the 
notice of the commandant, but without effect. As it had become 
necessary to obtain French surgeons for the French wounded, a 
flag of truce with a trumpeter was sent into the fortress ; but as 
they were both fired at, and the latter was wounded, the design 
had to be abandoned. 

A company of the 2nd Baden grenadiers, under the command 
of Captain Hilpert, had prepared for defence the outskirts of the 
village of Schiltigheim, on the side next the fortress. 

Towards evening the French made a sortie with two companies 
against the outskirts of the village, but were repulsed. The 
enemy lost three men killed and eight wounded, and Euth's 
company of the -ith Baden regiment, posted in reserve on the 
Kirch-platz, pursued them as far as the glacis. The bm-sting of 
one of the sluices in the place caused temporary damage to the 
inundation-works of the fortress, but it was soon repaired. 

August 20. — Tlie investing force began to make more 
extended arrangements for defence at Schiltigheim, as being a 

D 2 


■poiiit d'appui lying close to the fortress, and of great importance 
to the investment, having regard to the later ojaerations of the 
siege. The approaches to the village in the direction of the 
fortress were barricaded. Shelter-trenches and covered positions 
for ontposts were laid out. On the side of the enemy the works 
were masked by the plantations, which had been unaccountably 
left standing, in consequence of the hasty manner in which pre- 
parations for the siege had been made. Tlie brewery in Schiltig- 
lieim and the glue-manufactory in front of the Spital gate had 
already been set on fire from the fortress, in order not to afford 
cover to the besiegers. 

Fire was kept up against the fortress from both banks of the 

August 21. — The head of the siege-train reached Veudenheim. 
The train consisted of 200 guns rifled on the Prussian system, and 
100 smoothbore mortars ; 40 of these guns were at once brought 
into action against the fortress. Lieutenant-Greneral von Werder 
asked the commandant, in vain, to remove the observatory erected 
on the tower of the cathedral, in order that it might be possible to 
save this magnificent work of architecture from destruction. With 
similar results he endeavoured to have the military hospital 
moved out of the line of fire. 

The commandant sent out of the fortress, in detachments of 
ten men each, 100 Grermans, who belonged to the foreign legion. 
Upon this, great dissatisfaction against the Grermans showed itself 
among the population, who broke out into many acts of violence 
against them. 

August 22. — The commandant asked to send the women 
and children out of the besieged place. As this proposal would 
have led to a great demand for transj^ort and other inconvenient 
results, it had to be refused. 

August 23. — The Kehl batteries, which had been armed 
since the 18th August with garrison guns from Rastatt, kept up 
an effective fire day and night against the citadel, and produced 
a conflagration there. 

On the left bank of the Rhine the town and fortress of Stras- 
bvu'g was fired into from all sides. The cannonade became heavier 
towards evening. The infantry kept continually drawing nearer to 
the fortress. The pickets and outposts were obliged to entrench 
themselves in shelter-trenches and rifle-pits, to get cover from the 
fire of the enemy. 

August 24.— On the night of the 23rd-24th August the 
Baden infantry advanced against the railway- station on the 
west front, and thus approached within 1000 paces of the fortress. 
The station was taken without any loss. 

In the evening the bombardment of the west front with siege 
artillery was begun. For this purpose the Prussian siege artillery 
had built 13 siege batteries (Nosi 1-13) duringthe preceding night, 
and had armed them partly with rifled 24-pounders, and partly with 
heavy mortars. The result was that two large fires broke out in 
the town, and a third in the citadel ; and the arsenal, containing 


the workshops for the manufacture of artillery stores, carriages. &c. 
was destroyed. The explosion of a small powder-magazine was 
also observed. One of the two mortar-batteries erected by the 
French on the island of Sporen was silenced by the Baden 

The same day there were twenty houses burnt in Kehl, and 
others were very much damaged. 

August 25. — On the night of the 24th — 25th an exceedingly 
heavy fire was directed on the town and fortress from the whole 
of the batteries ; ten rounds were fired per minute. 

It was determined to destroy a mortar-battery which was- 
placed above the Rhine baths on the other side of the railway 
embankment, and had seriously injured the Kehl batteries. For 
this purpose, on the night above mentioned, one officer and forty- 
five men of the 6th Baden regiment and three gunners crossed 
the Ehine in perfect silence, but were unable to effect their object, 
because the French had already withdrawn the pieces of ordnance 
to the fortress. The detachment accordingly set the bath-house- 
in flames, and they were, in retreating, exposed to a hea^^ fire. 

The greater part of the inhabitants fled from Kehl. In order 
to diminish the danger from the falling shells the streets of the 
town were strewn with litter. Workmen were brought in from 
the neighbourhood, for three or four leagues round, to work at the 

The bishop of Strasburg appeared at the headquarters of the 
besiegers to beg for a cessation of the fire. There was the less 
chance of his wish being granted, since it appeared to be uttered 
more as a matter of form than as a serious request. 

About 1 1 A.M. the garrison made a sortie from the White 
Tower gate, with a small detachment and two guns, against the 7th 
and 8th companies of the 3rd Baden regiment. 

August 26.— Eight additional 24:-pounder garrison guns 
arrived at Kehl from Rastatt, and were immediately placed in 
battery, and fired during the day and the night until 4 o'clock 
in the morning. 

The bombardment against Strasburg was continued, chiefly 
from the battery of the Robertsaue, after a pause from 4 a.m. 
till 12 noon, for the purpose of awaiting the result of the 
efforts of the bishop to influence the inhabitants. Four several 
great conflagrations were observed, including the magazines and 
other buildings in the citadel, which were in flames. The fire 
from the fortress became comparatively weak. It had, however, 
destroyed utterly the greater part of the town of Kehl between 
the railway-station and the Rathhaus (town-hall), while the village 
of Kehl, south of the town of that name, had suffered but little. 

August 27.— On the night of the 26th-27th the number 
of batteries on the Kehl side was increased by a mortar-battery,, 
which was armed with eight 50-pounder mortars. 

During the past night five Baden pioneers succeeded in destroy- 
ing some dams which were intended to raise the level of the water 
in the ditches of the fortress. On account of the importance of 


the object and the danger of the operation the}'^ were awarded a 
gratuity of 1000 thalers (about £150). 

To-day, again, the fire was but slack from the fortress, while 
that of the besiegers was maintained with unabated vigour. A 
flag of truce was sent to the besiegers to ask for some surgical 
appliances for the citizens. This showed the great effect of the 
batteries of the attack, but also the little foresight that had been 
displayed in the town in preparing for the event of a siege. The 
surgical appliances were given most willingly, and in return some 
ice was obtained, which was required in the hospitals. The mayor 
of Strasburg in vain represented to the governor the desirability 
of surrendering the fortress. In consequence many persons began 
to abandon the city ; the greater part betaking themselves to 

On the previous night the advanced posts had been pushed 
forward to within 400 paces of the fortress, and had there en- 
trenched themselves. The object of this was to cover and conceal 
the construction of the first parallel. The artillery at the same 
time built ten batteries, which were numbered 14, 15, 16, 17, 
19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25. 

August 28. — The bishop of Strasburg made proposals for 
mediation. He came out to Schiltigheim, where Lieutenant-Colonel 
von Lescinsky the chief of the staff of the Baden army, conferred 
with him on behalf of Lieutenant-General von Werder. The 
bishop considered the bombardment was contrary to interna- 
tional law. His views were refuted. He begged then per- 
mission for the inhabitants to depart, and this request was 
refused. The request of the bishop for an armistice of twenty- 
four hours was granted, on condition that an assurance should be 
received within an hour that the governor would commence nego- 
tiations. He was also invited to come out and make himself 
acquainted with the preparations for the attack, or to do this by 
deputy. On his return a regular platoon-fire was commenced 
upon Lieutenant-Colonel von Lescinsky, although he bore the flag 
of truce in his own hand. The flag was riddled with bullets. The 
attempt at mediation was thus quite useless. 

-Meanwhile the bombardment on both sides was continued. 
Captain von Faber, of the Baden garrison artillery, sank under his 
severe wounds at Korck. 

Both towards evening and during the night a brisk fire was 
kejjt up between the outposts on our side and the riflemen of the 
garrison, who were posted in the covered way. 

August 29. — In the night of the 28th-29th, the shelter- 
trenches of the advanced posts of the besiegers between Konigs- 
hofen and the fortress were pushed on to within 500 or 600 paces 
of the town ; a small sortie in that quarter was repulsed, and the 
fire of the gims continued as before. At noon a sortie took place, 
which was repulsed by detachments of the 34th Prussian regiment. 

It may be well to mention here that the bombardment proper 
began on the 24th August, and lasted, with some intervals, three 
days. On the Strasburg side the bombarding batteries, thir- 


teen iu niimher, were all situated on the front that was sub- 
sequently attacked, and fire was opened from 26 rifled 24-pounders 
and 28 heavy mortars. On the side of Kehl there were six batteries 
in action, armed with 32 heavy rifled guns and 12 heavy mor- 
tars. The other side of the town and fortress was cannonaded 
with field-guns. 

The effect of the artillery of the defence was not inconsiderable : 
the villages of Konigshofen and Schiltigheim, which were within 
the range of the guns, were completely destroyed ; the Galgens- 
chanzl had suffered severely, and the railway-station at Kehl was 
set on fire by shells and completely burnt down, after the inhabi- 
tants of that part had succeeded with difficulty in saving it from 
a fire that broke out only a few days before. Of the destruction 
caused in Strasburg by the bombardment only the most important 
instances will be noticed here. The Ki'othenaue, the street leading 
to the gate of Austerlitz, the quarters De Pierre and of the national 
gate, the railway-station, the corn-exchange, the artillery school, 
the cannon- foundry, the large building of the garrison staff on 
the Kleberplatz, the neighbourhood of the cathedral, all suffered 
severely, and many treasures of art and science were destroyed : for 
example, the ancient and famous library, with its 400,000 volumes, 
and valuable documents and manuscripts, the museum of art, the 
collection of pictm'es, and the Neukirche, with its famous fresco 
paintings. The damage done to the cathedral, that memorial 
of early Grerman architecture, was happily not very great. 
Although the upper part of the roof above the arch was burnt, 
the interior was uninjured, with the excej)tion of one glass 
window. The celebrated astronomical clock remained unharmed. 

The siege artillery were directed to spare the cathedi-al, and 
previous notice was given of the few shots that were fired, chiefly 
against the tower, in consequence of the enemy having erected 
an observatory there, with telegraphic communication, whence the 
besiegers' works were completely seen into. 

Serious injury had been done to the private property of the 
citizens by the inundation around the fortress, which was, however, 
a most efficient measure of defence. The inundation placed the 
smTounding low ground and many of the cellars in the town 
under water. In the greater number of the latter no provision 
liad been made for such an event, and the entry of the water, there-. 
fore, caused great inconvenience, and prevented the buildings from 
being used, either as shelter for the peo]3le, or as stores for pro- 
visions. An attempt had, indeed, been made at Erstein, about 
2^ miles (llf English miles) south of Strasburg, between the 
road leading to Schlettstadt and the Khine canal, to divert the 
waters of the 111, which there flows through low ground intersected 
by many watercourses, and is connected by channels with the Ehine. 
An attempt had been also made to lead off the water at the dis- 
charging sluices o/ the inundation close to the fortress on the south 
front, at the point where the Aar, a branch of the 111, the 111 itself, 
and the Ehine-Marne canal, are united ; and the destruction of 
the sluices Nos. 87 and 88 in the Ehine-Ill canal had been under- 


taken, and bad resulted in a perceptible reduction of tbe level of 
tbe water in tbe inundation and in tbe ditcbes. 

Tbe opinion of tbe inbabitants, beaded by tbe clergy, was 
decidedly against a vigorous defence of tbe fortress ; several 
unavailing memorials were sent by tbem to the commandant, to 
induce bim to surrender tbe place. Tbe prices of most kinds of pro- 
visions for tbe inbabitants were raised to exorbitant amounts, and 
as tbe supply of beef was long since exhausted, people ate borse- 
flesb. A bundredweigbt of potatoes cost 12 francs; and in tbis 
populous town tbere was neither butter nor fresh vegetables. 

Tbe strength and composition of the garrison were ascertained. 
It consisted chiefly of fugitives from tbe battle of Worth of tbe 
21st, 23rd, 28th, 33rd, and 74tli regiments, besides turcos, 
zouaves, spahis, and cavalry of every description, and this pecu- 
liarity of composition rendered the maintenance of discipline 
difficult. Tbere was among tbem none of that steadiness which 
belongs to well-disciplined troops, as might be seen from tbe way 
in which attacks were executed. By the burning of the military 
establishments great quantities of warlike stores bad been destroyed^ 
and by the vigorous bombardment tbe defensibility of tbe place 
had been very materially reduced. 

Although it was well known that General Barral, of the 
artillery, who succeeded in entering the fortress in disguise 
during the investment, must have, in fact, bad the actual direc- 
tion of the defence, still tbe Governor (General of Division 
Uhrich) was acknowledged to be a man of honour ; and it was not 
probable that this meritorious officer would be brought to capi- 
tulate easily, after having repeatedly refused tbe summons to 

In tbis state of affairs it became certain, by the 26tb of August, 
that the object in view was only to be attained by a regular siege, 
and that thus also the sufferings of the unhappy city would be 
abbreviated as much as possible. The preparatory measures, to 
which attention bad prudently been paid at tbe very commence- 
mient of the campaign, were now rapidly carried into effect. 

Accordingly, in order to be prepared for all events, tbe siege- 
train was despatched from Magdeburg, Coblentz, and Wesel. Its 
composition and the numbers of guns of eacli description were in 
every respect carefully considered. Experiments bad been made 
by the Prussian Artillery Experimental Committee with rifled siege 
artillery, especially with 15-centimetre (6-inch) guns, and 21- 
centimetre (8*27-inch) mortars, both of which fire an elongated 
shell. The results of these trials, and the use of demolition 
batteries {Demolitions batterien\ by which, with suitable guns 
fired at appropriate elevations, bidden escarps can be breached at 
great distances, were to be tested in actual warfare for the first 
time at Strasburg. 

In deciding ujaon the place for the artillery attack, it was con- 
templated that the batteries already existing on tbe front attacked 
would be maintained for the purposes of the bombardment, and 
especially that, from the Kehl batteries, which came into play 


about this time, fire would be kept up, because tbey were best 
adapted for operating against the citadel, and for rendering it 
impossible to defend the fortress in that quarter. 

For the engineer attack an engineer siege-park, wliich had 
recently been formed for the first time, was brought up before the 

Lieutenant-Greneral von Werder, of the Prussian Army, was 
appointed to the command of the siege corps, with Lieutenant- 
Colonel von Lescinsky, of the general staff of the Grand Duchy 
of Baden, as chief of the staff, Lieutenant-General von Decker 
was appointed to command the siege artillery, and Major-General 
von Mertens was appointed Engineer-in-Chief. 

The siege corps was composed as follows : — 

1. Infantry.- — 

(a) The landwehr division of the guard. 

(b) P^irst reserve division, to which were attached the 
30th regiment from Mainz, and the 34th (Pomeranian) 
fusiliers, which latter regiment, immediately after the 
declaration of war, had been brought up from Frank- 
fort to Rastatt, and had already been employed during 
the investment before Strasburg. 

(c) The Baden division. 

2. Cavalnj. — The 2nd reserve reginient of Prussian dragoons; 
the 2nd reserve regiment of Prussian ulans ; and the Baden 
cavalry, consisting of three regiments of dragoons. 

3. Tlce Siege Artillery, altogether 6.000 or 7,000 strong, was 
composed of 29 companies of garrison artillery belonging to the 
guard, and to the 4th, 5th, 6th, Ttli, and 10th regiments, 4 
Bavarian garrison batteries, 4 Wurtemberg garrison batteries, and 
2 Baden garrison com^Danies. 

4. Pioneers, (Engineers), altogether 2,200 strong, two ' com- 
bined ' battalions of garrison jDioneers, which were composed of 
12 companies of garrison pioneers from the districts of the 1st, 
2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th, and 11th army corps, in addition to 
two comjDanies of Baden field pioneers, and a company of Bavarian 
garrison pioneers, which, however, only arrived towards the end of 
the siege. Colonel Klotz, of the royal Prussian engineers, was in 
command of the whole of the pioneers. 

When the formation of the corps was completed, the staffs for 
the siege artillery and engineers were appointed. Lieutenant- 
Colonel von Scheliha, of the general staff, formerly of the artiller^^, 
acted as chief of the staff for the former; and Lieutenant-Colonel 
von Waugenheim, from the War Office, for the latter. Six field 
officers of the artillery were appointed commanders of sections, 
and 20 engineer officers were told off for duty in their own depart- 
ment before Strasburg. 

The siege army was, altogether, nearly 60,000 strong. The 
headquarters (Lieutenant-General von Werder) were fixed in 
Mundolsheim for the siege artillery, and for the business of the 
engineers. The division of the Grand Duchy of Baden had its 
headquarters in Oberschaffelsheim and in Lampertsheim, where 


was the residence of H.K.H. the Grand Duke of Baden, who 
followed the progress of the siege with great interest. 

From the accurate knowledge the besiegers possessed of the 
whole of the fortress, the selection of the front of attack was not 
difficult. The north-west angle of the enceinte was decided upon 
for the puriDOse. Its position was so salient that a comparatively- 
narrow front of attack was admissible, and this front could be de- 
veloped on ground almost entirely clear of inundations. The parks 
were placed near excellent roads and other means of communica- 
tion with the depots in rear. Thus all movements of the siege 
stores to a flank, which would have caused waste of time, were 
avoided. The citadel had already been terribly injured, during, 
the investment and bombardment, by the batteries at Kehl, and, 
moreover, was of little use on the front selected for attack, so 
that enfilade-fire on the attack from thence, or from the adjoining- 
works, was little to be dreaded. The difficulties to be met with in 
gaining possession of the ramparts, or in entering tlie fortress, 
on the front in question, would also have been experienced in a 
greater or less degree on all the other fronts. 

The siege park was situated on the right, the powder magazine 
on the left, of the highroad, north of Mundolsheim ; the engineer 
park was in Suffelsweierheim. 

On the night of the 29th-30th August, the first parallel was 
opened, and at the same time the approaches to it from the rear 
were made. 

The working party was furnished by the 1st and 2nd landwehr 
regiments of the guard and the pioneer battalions, so far as the 
latter were not required for supervision and other technical duties. 

The parallel rested with its left flank on the 111, crossed the 
road leading from Strasburg to Schiltigheim and Weissenburg, . 
and the railways to Paris and Basle — the latter line, as it 
happened, by the over-bridge to Wasselonne — and was thence 
continued to the south-western outlet of Konigshofen. It ex- 
tended, therefore, beyond the groimd covered by the attack, by 
almost half its total length, which amounted to 5,700 paces.* 

The distance of the parallel from the fortress was, on the average, 
800 paces ; and this was a very favourable circumstance, in com- 
parison with the siege of Sebastopol, where the besiegers were 
obliged to execute the same work at a distance of over 1,600 
paces from the works. 

The communications in rear, from the principal depot, were 
constructed in a zigzag form, with five returns, and occupied the 
ground between the highroad to Weissenburg and the railway to 
Paris. They were nearly in the centre of the attack. 

Some short trenches of communication were also made on the 
left flank, to connect with the village of Schiltigheim, which was 
very conveniently situated for the approach on this side. 

The covering troops were posted, and the working parties 
marched to and fro, in accordance with instructions given for these 

* About 4,700 yards. 


purposes, so far as local circumstances did not require a departure 
from the instructions. 

During- the first night the parallel and the communications 
from the rear were excavated to a depth of 4 feet and a breadth 
of 3 feet at the bottom, and this section was widened, in the course 
of the 30th August, to 8 or 9 feet at the bottom. Thus the breadth 
required for the trenches, as communications, was obtained, and 
sufficient thickness was also given to the parapet. The parallel 
was in many places cut into steps for offensive movements. 

Three engineer depots were also formed, one for the centre 
and one for each flank, as shown in the plan. 

The enemy permitted all the works to be executed without 
interruption. It was not till 6 a.m. on the morning of the 30th 
August, that some unusual movements were observed on the 
ramparts, but at this time there were already ten new batteries, 
with 46 additional siege-guns in action. These were batteries 
Nos. 14 to 17, Nos. 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 25. The bombarding 
batteries Nos. 1 to 13 also continued in action, so that there were 
firing at this time 

30 long rifled 24-pounders, 
42 rifled 12-pounders, 
28 heavy mortars. 

altogether 100 pieces of siege ordnance. 

The enemy was evidently taken by surprise at the execution of 
the siege-works mentioned, and was unprepared for them. This 
was apparent from the batteries of the attack being slackly 
answered. These were, however, in a position to enfilade and 
counter-batter the principal lines of the front attacked and of the 
adjoining fronts, and to do serious damage to the enemy in the 
temporary works thrown up before the siege. 

By their united efforts the batteries of the besiegers succeeded 
in silencing the artillery of the garrison in a very short time. On 
account of their great distance from the works, however, some of 
the bombarding batteries constructed early in the siege (Nos. 1, 2, 
3, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12) ceased fire in the course of the day. 

During the fore and afternoon of the 30th August, the artillery 
of the garrison, after completing the armament of the front of 
attack, were able to renew the fight for a couple of hours. Both 
times, however, they were quickly silenced. 

On this day and on the 31st August, the parallels and approaches 
were first brought to the section necessary for efficiency, and were 
completed. It became necessary, on this and on the following days, 
to drive out the French posted in some rifle-pits on Wacken, an 
island covered with bushes formed by the Aar, a branch of the 111, 
and by the 111. 

September 1. — During the night between the 31st August 
and the 1st September the approaches to the second parallel were 
commenced. They consisted of only a simple trench on the left 
wing, and three zigzags directed on the capitals of the bastions 
attacked. In consequence of this the outposts were proportionately 


advanced. At the same time batteries Nos. 27 and 28 were built 
and armed. The enemy displayed great activity during the night, 
and towards morning commenced a vigorous fire of artillery. The 
fire was particularly heavy on the north front. 

The engineer lieadquarters were transferred from Mundolsheim 
to Schiltigheim. The batteries of attack, we may liere mention, 
were placed partly inside and partly outside the parallels and com- 
munications. In both cases, however, they were so covered that 
they were either not at all, or only slightly, visible from the fortress 
itself. Those for guns were provided for the most part with flat 
or trough-shaped embrasures. 

September 2. — During the night of September lst-2nd, the 
zigzag approaches to tlie second parallel were executed, and were 
made in two separate parts, because it was desired to spare the 
churchyard of St. Helene, with its monuments. Lieutenant- 
Colonel von Gayl and Captain Hertzberg, both of the engineers, 
were killed as they were in the act of endeavouring to improve 
the defective position of a part of the second parallel, which was 
too close to the enemy's works. The former was on duty as major 
of the trenches. The work was not quite completed when, on 
the night of September 2nd-3rd, about 12 o'olock, a brisk fire of 
artillery and infantry commenced from the fortress, and was fol- 
lowed immediately by two sorties against both flanks of the parallel. 
The French advanced with three columns against the right wing 
in the direction of Vendenheim, and attacked the company of the 
2nd Baden grenadiers (King of Prussia's), who were holding the 
outer buildings of the railway-station. A severe engagement en- 
sued, so that the commandant of the trenches, Colonel von Renz, 
had to bring up the 1st battalion of the regiment above named, who 
were on trench-duty, and drive back the enemy, who was superior in 
numbers, into the fortress, Captain Grraeff was killed, and the troops 
lost 50 killed and wounded, chiefly in retreating into the trenches. 
The 2nd company distinguished itself very much in this engage- 

In the sortie delivered against the left flank of the parallel at 
half-past 3 in the morning, the French sent three columns over 
the islands of Jars and Wacken, where outhouses and plantations 
afforded much cover, and then fell upon the 2nd battalion of the 
30th Prussian regiment, by whom they were repulsed. The loss 
of the Prussians amounted to one officer (Lieutenant von Versen) 
wounded and taken prisoner, and thirty men. A French officer 
and four chassem-s were taken prisoners. In these sorties the want 
of a greater number of steps over the parapet for counter-attacks 
was experienced. Eain coming on made the work in the trenches 
exceedingly heavy. The besiegers had now got so near the fortress 
that wall-pieces could be used with advantage, for which purpose 
wall-piece detachments were formed of both Prussian and Baden 
troops, and were employed to keep up a fire on the enemy's 
gunners. The French fired for a similar purpose with wall-pieces, 
chassepots, and minie-rifles. 

September 3. — Extension of parallels, and construction and 


completion of batteries 16a, 17a, 19a, 21a, 29, and 30. In the 
early morning there was a slight engagement at the outposts, in 
which the besiegers lost eight wounded. In the forenoon there 
was a cessation of hostilities for an hour, for burying the dead 
in the fortress. 

At Schiltigheim the castle-like monastery was converted into 
a hospital. Two new kinds of siege ordnance arrived at the park — 
namely, twelve short-rifled 24-pounders, and two rifled 2o-pounder 
mortars. They threw projectiles of enormous jDower with great 

September 4. — The engineer headquarters were transferred 
back again to Mundolsheim for official reasons. Intelligence 
arrived of the capitulation of Sedan, which was communicated to 
the governor of the fortress, in order to make him aware of the 
military and political condition of France resulting from that 
event. A thanksgiving service was held by the siege corps, and 
three saluting rounds per gun were fired by the artillery, in honour 
of the occasion. 

September 5. — The siege continued its course without any 
events worthy of remark. During the previous night, as well as 
in the course of the day, the enemy attacked with small detach- 
ments, to interrupt the progress of battery No. 33, the mortar 
batteries 31 and 32, and the other trench works. 

September 6. — At Schiltigheim a line of telegraph, serving 
apparently for commimication with Metz, was discovered and 
destroyed. Subsequently, however, it was believed that it had served 
for private and local uses. The batteries of the attack kept up a 
very heavy fire, and the fine ' Finkmatt ' barracks, behind the 
bastion of the same name, where Napoleon III. had made an 
attempt at insurrection in 1839, were set on fire by shells. In 
Bischheim, also, a conflagration was caused by the fire of the 
artillery of the garrison. The Kehl batteries kept up a heavy fire 
on the citadel and destroyed the city gate there, and by this means 
the communication with the town and w^itli its defences was 
rendered exceedingly difficult. 

September 7. — In the morning there was an engagement of 
the patrols on the Ehine, in which a detachment of the 3rd 
(Baden) regiment took part. Another detachment captured at 
Machern, one-and-a-half leagues above Kehl, two vessels comino- 
from Neu-Breisach with stores for the supply of the artillery', 
including 30,000 fuzes. The boatmen in charge of the vessels 
were compelled to discharge their cargoes, on account of the low 
level of the water in the Ehine, and had set to work to do this 
without precaution. 

September 8. — During the past night, battery No. 35 had been 
armed with two 21-centimetre (8'27-inch) mortars, which was a 
work of much difficulty, as they weighed nearly 150 cwt. — namely, 
the piece itself about 66 cwt., and the platform about 84 cwt. 
These experimental mortars throw a shell weighing 160 pounds, 
shaped like a sugarloaf, and 20 inches in length, with a 15-pound 
bursting charge, which forms by its explosion a crater 6 feet deep 


and 20 feet across. They are, therefore, very effective against 
bombproof casemates. They were used in combination with 
battery No. 5 against the redoubt in kmette No. 4-4, which work 
was in consequence soon abandoned by the enemy. At the same 
time batteries 39 and 38, and two emplacements for field-guns 
to fire over the ground in front, were built ; and a battery (No. 40), 
for firing at high angles near the churchyard of St. Helene, was 
constructed, and armed with six 25-pounder mortars. 

September 9. — The birthday of H.R.H. the Grand Duke of 
Baden, kept in time of peace with a grand reveille, thanksgiving, 
and tattoo, was celebrated by an unusually heavy cannonade, on 
the part of the besiegers, from both sides of the Ehine. Besides 
the 32 rifled guns and 8 mortars in the Kehl batteries, there 
were in the principal attack 98 rifled guns and 40 mortars in 
action. By the admirable arrangement of the artillery attack, for 
the mutual support and concentration of fire from the various 
batteries, that of the enemy was almost silenced. It slackened 
perceptibly, and on the fronts and lines directly attacked, a rapid 
mortar-fire only was maintained. 

In Paris a despatch was published, ostensibly from the 
governor of the fortress, according to which the condition of the 
place had in the last few days become very seriously worse, owing 
to the incessant bombardment ; it has not transpired how the 
despatch in question found its way to Paris under the circum- 
stances then existing. 

September 10.— During the night of the 9th-10th, work 
was begun in three places at the communications to the third 
parallel, and a sortie of the French from the porte Nationale was 
repulsed by the 2nd (Baden) regiment. The use of the Stein 
Thor (porte de la Pierre), which lay so close to the attack, was 
rendered altogether unavailable for making sorties, because it, as 
well as the bridges at that place, had been entirely destroyed by 
the fire of the artillery. In the town several, large conflagrations 
were observed. 

September 11. — During the preceding night the approaches 
to the third parallel, on the three openings that had been made, 
were pushed forward about 300 paces. The artillery fire on both 
sides was heavy. There was a fire at the artillery school, and also 
in Konigshofen. Breaching battery No. 8 was constructed against 
lunette No. 53, and was armed with four short 24-pounders. 

Septeinber 12. — During the previous night the third parallel 
was added, 700 paces in length, which was executed by means of 
the common sap,* without using gabions, as had been all the 
earlier works of this description. It deserves to be prominently 
noticed that the establishment of the third parallel and the com- 
munications between the second and third parallels by the 
common sap, instead of the full sap prescribed for their execution 
in the regulations, shortened the attack by many days ; and this 

* The ' common sap ' is not what is so called in the English Service, but 
the mode of execution adopted by us for the first parallel. 


arrangement, previously unrecorded in military history, was due 
entirely to the Engineer-in-Chief, Greneral von Martens. The 
garrison attempted a sortie, which produced no effect, and was of 
no importance. At the same time battery 8a was constructed, and 
armed with four oO-pounder mortars, against bastion No. 11, on the 
front of attack, which was also shelled by battery 35. At break 
of day the fire of the artillery was resumed, and kept up most 
vigorously. The position of the third parallel was such that it 
skirted the foot of the glacis of lunette 53, while it was some 
60 paces distant from the foot of lunette 52. A kind of demi- 
parallel was required to connect the two glacis, at their feet, for 
which purpose a sap had to be driven forward from the third 
parallel towards lunette 52. Further approaches could no longer 
be made by zigzags. The double sap {Traversensappe) was 
necessary to give the additional cover required on both sides. 

Breaching battery No. 42 was erected, for six short 24- 
pounders, against the right face of bastion No. 11. 

The Swiss, with the consent of the governor of the fortress, 
and of the commander of the siege corps, made arrange- 
ments for the departm'e of distressed families. Nearly 800 per- 
sons left the fortress, with the greatest goodwill on the part of the 

September 13. — During the previous bright moonlight night, 
the work at the double sap was continued with sap-rollers {Erdioalze). 
The fire of the fortress reached as far as Mittelhausbergen, more 
than a league (about 4,600 yards) from the place, and set that 
village on fire. In the com'se of the day an exchange was effected 
of an unwounded French officer, who was a prisoner, for a wounded 
Prussian officer, who was also a prisoner — Lieutenant von Yersen, 
of the 30th regiment. Detachments of Baden infantry occupied 
the island of Sporen, at the south-east of the fortress ; they made 
rifle-pits there, and endeavoured to establish communication with 
the Prussian troops . posted at their right on the Roberstaue, for 
which purpose a bridge was thrown over the branch of the Rliine. 

September 14. — On the night of September 13th-14th the 
demi-parallel was completed, and was broken through for a return 
to the front ; this could only be made by a double sap, executed 
by means of sap-rollers. At the same time batteries 41 and 43 
were built, and manned by the "SViirtemberg artillery. The 
former was armed with four 12-poLmders, and the latter with eight 
24-pounders, for firing against the adjoining fronts. Then fol- 
lowed the establishment of mortar-emplacements Nos. 45 and 46, 
against the outworks lying near them, as well as the construction 
of 'dismounting battery' No. 44. An indirect breaching battery. 
No. 42, was built to operate against the right face of bastion 11, 
and armed with four short 24-pounders. A detachment of Baden 
troops, consisting of 4 battalions, 8 squadrons, and 3 batteries, 
under the command of Greneral Keller, was sent from the siege 
corps to Upper Alsace. It marched by Colmar to Miihlhauseu, 
was attacked by the garrison of Neu-Breisach and some gardes 
mobiles, and, in compliance with orders, effected the disarmament 
of the district, in which signs of a popular rising had appeared. 


Septemhev 15. — During- the previous night the glacis was 
crowned by the flying sap for 50 jDaces along each face of lunette 
No. 53. A second time the Frencli made an attempt to occupy 
the island of Sporen in force. This day they endeavoured to effect 
this object by a sortie in force, apparently with 1,600 men, accom- 
panied by artillery, who, after a combat of some duration, were 
driven back. 

At first there were only two Baden companies opposed to the 
French, but these, during the fight, were reinforced by Prussian 
detachments, and drove back the enemy, who left behind them 
killed, wounded, and prisoners. 

In Strasburg the want of provisions, especially among the 
poorer classes of the population, began to be felt seriously, and 
arrangements were made for sheltering those whose houses had 
been burnt in sheds built for horses. At the pressing instance of 
the clergy of both persuasions there was an armistice from 9 till 
12 in the forenoon, to allow 500 or 600 women and children to 
depart from the besieged city. 

September 16. — On the night of the 15th-16th the crowning 
of the glacis, by flying sap, in front of lunette 52, was begun. 
At Appenweier, a railway-station, 2 miles (9^ English miles) from 
Kehl, preparations were made for the repair of the lattice-bridge 
over the Ehine, which had been destroyed, restoring it, in the 
first instance, for one line only. The flying-bridge at Ichenheim, 
about 2^ leagues above Kehl, was also kept ready to be brought 
down to that place. 

September \1 . — On this night the crownings in front of lunettes 
52 and 53 were prepai-ed for action, and the artillery displayed, on 
this occasion, extraordinary activity. Batteries 17a, 19a, 21a were 
made in front of the second parallel, and Nos. 17b, 19b, 21b were 
made in connection with them. Batteries Nos. 46, 47, 48, 5a 
(all batteries for firing at high angles) were built, and armed with 
light and heavy mortars. Captain Ledebur, of the Engineers, 
with two resolute pioneers (sappers), had on the night of 
the 8th-9th September reconnoitred lunette 53. Letting them- 
selves down by ropes into the ditch, they discovered three mining- 
galleries of the enemy, of which the entrances were just above the 
surface of the water in the ditch. One principal gallery was 
found on the centre line of the work, and one gallery on each 
side of it. All three were connected by parallel galleries, and 
formed in the customary manner. This system of mines being- 
discovered, was given up by the enemy. Only one mine had been 
loaded, and that was now unloaded. The gallery, on the right of 
the capital, was converted by working from the third parallel 
into an underground communication with the ditch of the work, 
and by the 14th September was made use of as a secure place of 
observation for watching the effect of the indirect breaching 
batteries on the right face. Inforrnation was thus obtained that 
the breach was quite practicable on the 16th September. This 
was not the only application of indirect fire to the formation of a 
breach, for it had, as we have seen, been attended by the best re- 


suits from battery 33, against the redoubt of lunette 44, and 
against a covered dam at the Fischerthor, between bastion 15 and 
ravelin 63. 

In the evening detachments of the 3rd and 6th regiments of 
Baden infantry repulsed an attack attempted by the French on the 
island of Sporen. 

September 18. — On the previous night the fortress was bom- 
barded with increased vigour. An advance was made into the 
covered way of lunette 52, and the redoubt in the place (Varmes 
was found to be abandoned by the enemy. The descent into the 
ditch in front of lunette 53 was excavated during the night, and 
at intervals by day, and the timber-work was then commenced. 
The field telegraph was brought up to the third parallel, and the 
whole of the siege-works put in connection with it. This was its 
first application in siege operations. 

Septeraber 19. — In the night progress was made with the 
construction of the descent into the ditch in front of lunette 52. 

Lieutenant Kirchgessner, of the engineers of the Grand Duchy 
of Baden, was killed. The theatre in Strasburg became a prey 
to the flames. The bombardment reached all parts of the city, 
and destroyed a timber-yard in the citadel, and two of the largest 
and finest houses on the Steinstrasse, by fire. Immediately on 
completion of the crownings in front of the two lunettes, the 
artillery went on with the construction of counter-batteries, Nos. 
51, 53, 54, and armed them each with two 6-pounder guns. 

September 20. — In front of lunette 53 the descent of the 
ditch was finished, and the foot of the counterscarp was blown in 
by . a mine. The breach thus caused was widened to 1 2 feet, and 
made practicable. The debris of the wall, however, only filled 
up part of the ditch, and about 3 rods (36 feet) of its breadth re- 
mained to be filled up to complete the passage of the ditch. This 
was done by throwing in filled sandbags and earth, and fascines 
and gabions loaded with stones. Towards 5 p.m. this task was 
completed, and a passage to the work was made practicable, about 
60 feet long, 18 feet wide, and 4 feet to 8 feet deep in water. 
Accordingly, the guard of the trenches that happened to be at 
hand, consisting of some men of the Cottbus landwehr battalion 
of the guard, under Lieutenant von Miiller, of the fusiliers 
of the guard, advanced, ascended the breach that had been 
made in the 18-foot escarp, and effected a lodgment on it. The 
work was abandoned by the enemy, but the interior was seen from 
the works lying beliiud it. Lieutenant Frobenius, of the engi- 
neers, reconnoitred the interior of the lunette. He found the gorge 
open, a great traverse, with two vaulted passages, erected on the centre 
line or capital of the work, and some guns. The abandoned guns 
were spiked by the artillery; and the jjioneers (engineers) having 
found nowhere any mines for its demolition, the interior of the 
lunette was occupied. The enemy hereupon opened a brisk mus- 
ketry fire, from which the new garrison endeavoured to cover 
themselves as best they could. At night the 3rd company of the 
34th fusiliers formed the garrison. A pioneer company, under 
36996. E 


the command of Captain Ledebur, effectually closed in the 
work by the construction of covered communications to the lodg- 
ment in the gorge, with a parapet facing the enceinte. Mortar- 
batteries 49 and 50, against the adjoining works, as well as gun- 
battery 55, were built. In the captured lunette. No. 53, a 7-poun- 
der mortar-battery. No. 56, was erected. 

September 21. — Greneral Keller's detachment, that had been 
sent to Upper Alsace, rejoined the siege corps before Strasburg. 
Night and day work was carried on at the descent of the ditch in 
front of lunette 52, from the entrance down to the bottom, and 
many reliefs were employed, so as to finish the work as quickly as 
possible. The slopes were revetted with gabions, and iron rails, 
properly supported at the ends, were used in its construction. The 
breach through the earthen counterscarp to the wet ditch was 
filled up during the day with gabions, sandbags, &c. At 8 o'clock 
in the evening preparations were commenced for the passage of 
the ditch. This was to be effected by means of a bridge of casks, 
120 feet long, constructed under the charge of Captain Andriae, 
of the engineers. To prevent noise the bridge was covered with 
straw, and its construction was completed about half-past 10 
o'clock. A working party of 100 men, under the command of 
First-Lieutenant von Keiser I., of the engineers, followed by two 
companies of the 34th fusiliers, crossed over, and found 
the lunette armed with some guns, but unoccupied. Fire was 
opened upon them, however, from the line of works in rear, namely, 
the counterguard, and the hornwork 47-49; but, though they suf- 
fered mncli loss, the work was pushed on with great energy, and 
the contemplated lodgment in the works was effected. Major 
von Quitzow, of the staff of the engineers (major of the trenches 
on duty), was killed. Captain Eoese, of the engineers, had charge 
of the works for closing the lunette, which consisted of a lodg- 
ment behind the palisades at the gorge, and a communication 
leading into it. Inside the lunette four 7-pounder mortars were 
subsequently placed, and it was called battery 57. The loss 
amounted on this night to 10 killed and 38 wounded. During 
the day the bombardment was extended to all parts of the town. 
The prefecture was bm-nt down, and the fire in the Steinstrasse 
continued its ravages. 

September 22. — During the past night the cannonade 
never stopped, and the bursting of shells in the city was incessant, 
causing much loss of life, and making everywhere sad havoc. 

Lunette 52 was captured; with it six 12-pounders, with their 
proportion of ammunition, fell into the hands of the besiegers. On 
the crowning a 6-pounder was placed opposite the left face of the 
work. The losses of the last few days had made it necessary to 
advance the field hospitals ( Verband pUitze). They were made 
bombproof by the use of railway metals, and for some of them 
Abyssinian wells were sunk. 

September 23. — During the past night the besiegers, making 
use of a dam that happened to be there, debouched from the 
gorge of lunette 52, by means of the double sap, towards the 


siimmit of the glacis of coimterguard al. At this point Captain 
Ledebur, of the Prussian Engineers, was wounded ; he died of this 
wound some weeks later. All honour and respect is due to this 
officer for his gallant conduct. He it was who, by a bold advance, 
discovered the mines in front of lunette 53, and who swam 
through the ditch in front of lunette 52 to reconnoitre the 
gorge of that work. 

On the same night a powder-magazine, which had been 
struck simultaneously by two French shells, blew up in battery 
No. 35. In another battery (No. 32,) the roof of the magazine 
was broken through. In the former case 5 cwt. of powder went off, 
and blew to pieces the gunner who was employed in the magazine. 
It was evident from this, that the bridge of casks leading to 
lunette 52, built on the night of the 21st and 22nd, would not 
last long. In the course of the day it was disabled by the shells 
of the enemy. It was accordingly sunk on the following night 
to the bottom of the ditch, filled up with fascines, sandbags, 
and gabions, and remained thus a secure means of crossing the 
ditch. As it was exposed to an uninterrupted flanking fire from 
lunettes 54 and 55, a parapet was made on the left side, of gabions 
in two rows, one above the other, filled with sandbags. Breaching 
battery No. 42 commenced firing against the right face of 
bastion 11. 

September 24. -During the previous night, breaching battery 
No. 5S^ for four short 24-pounders, was built opposite the left 
face of bastion 12, and opened fire in the morning. The double 
sap, which had been commenced inside the dam leading to 
lunette 52 from the rear, was pushed forward as far as the crest of 
the glacis of bastion 11, where it terminated in a traverse that 
was met with, and which was prepared for defence by infantrv', by 
cutting a banquette in it. Destruction by fire and ruin of every 
description continually increased in the city ; the citizens were 
wounded and killed, by shrapnel and shells, in the streets, in 
their houses, at any business they undertook. One of the 21- 
centimetre (8'27-inch) shells passed through three storeys into 
the cellar of a house, destroying everything in its way. 

September 25. — In lunette 53, battery No. 60 was erected, 
for three rifled 6-pounders. A complete breach was formed in 
bastion 11. 

September 26. — A complete breach was formed in bastion 
No. 12. Bastions 11 and 12 were reduced to shapeless ruins by 
the fire directed on them, and at the salient of the latter 
bastion an arched gam-casemate was entirely destroyed. The arch 
of the Steinthor was shot to pieces. The construction of the 
crowning in front of the counterguard of bastion 1 1 was continued 
by the engineers. 

So remarkable were the exertions of the artillery, that it is only 
right to make special mention of the energy and endurance which 
these troops this day displayed before Strasburg, and to which 
alone it is due, not only that the artillery of the defenders was so 
held in check, that at last they only ventured to come out at nighty 

E 2 


but also that the engineer attack, conducted with measures as well 
considered as they were excellent and vigorous, attained its object 
in so short a time. 

The various descriptions of guns which the artillery had 
in use before Strasburg were long 24-pounder, short 24-pounder5 
12-pounder and 6-pounder guns ; 21 -centimetre, 50-pounder, 
25-pounder, and 7-pounder mortars. Altogether 193,722 
shot and shell were fired, of which 162,600 were fired from 
197 Prussian pieces of artillery, and 31,112 from Baden 
artillery. Every day a train of thirty-two wagons was required to 
bring up ammunition. During the bombardment and the siege, 
on the average 1,200 cwt. of metal (iron and lead) was thrown 
into the fortress daily. At the time that most of the artillery 
were in action — that is to say, approximately, during the last three 
weeks of the siege — the fortress received,at the ordinary rate of fire, 
some 6,000 projectiles during the 24 hours, and of these each one 
exploded separately. Wall-pieces, served by some particularly 
good marksmen of the Baden division, were made use of from the 
beginning of the siege. Wall-piece detachments were formed, 
and posted in the most advanced trenches, in order that they 
might 023erate against particular guns of the enemy. 

Septeinher 27. — On this day the defence was almost entirely 
silent, and only now and then gave signs of life. But, though 
this was the case, all were surprised and astonished when, at 5 
o'clock in the afternoon, white flags were seen to wave on the 
cathedral, and on bastions 11 and 12. At the same time, a flag of 
truce announced that the governor wished to treat for the surrender 
of the fortress. 

September 28. — At 2 a.m. the terms of capitulation were 
agreed upon at Kouigshofen, and the principal points were as 
follows : — 

"Article 1. — At 8 a.m. on the 28th September, 1870, Lieu- 
tenant-Greneral Uhrich evacuates the citadel, the Austerlitz, Fischer, 
and National gates. At the same time the German troops occupy 
these places. 

" Article 2. — At 11 o'clock on the same day the P'rench gar- 
rison, including mobiles and national guards, evacuate the fortress 
and lay down their arms. 

" Article 3. — The troops of the line and gardes mobiles become 
prisoners of war, and march off with their baggage. The national 
guards and the franc-tireurs are free on specified conditions, and 
give up their arms at the mayoralty. 

" Article 4. — The officers and officials ranking as non-com- 
missioned officers depart to such residences as they may select, on 
a written engagement ' upon honour.' Those who do not do so, 
go with the garrison as prisoners of war to Germany. 

" Article 5. — Lieutenant-General Uhrich undertakes, imme- 
diately after the arms are laid do\yn, to hand over all military 
property, and the public chest." 

This capitulation was signed, on the part of the Germans, by 
Lieutenant-Colonel von Lescinsky, chief of the general staff, 


and Captain and Adjutant Count Henckel von Donnersmarck ; and 
on the part of the French by the commandant of Strasburg-, 
Colonel Ducasse, and by Lieutenant-Colonel Mangin, sub-director 
of artillery. It was ratified by Lieutenant-Creneral von Werder. 

The Germans received into their hands, in consequence of this 
capitulation, 451 officers, 17,111 men (including 7,000 national 
guards), and some 2,000 sick, 1,843 horses, more than 1,200 pieces 
of bronze ordnance, 3,000 cwt. of powder, 12,000 chassepot rifles, 
50 locomotives, and great quantities of other warlike stores. The 
prisoners of war were sent to Rastatt. 

In accordance with Article 2 of the capitulation, detachments 
of the siege corps of all arms were posted during the morning 
between the roads leading to Zabern and to Konigshofen, while the 
French marched out between lunette 44 and redoubt 37. The 
march-past of the latter was commenced by Lieutenant-General 
Uhrich, followed by General Barral, of tlie artillery, and Admiral 
Exelmann, who was to have commanded the Rliine flotilla. The 
troops marched at first in their ranks, but afterwards in disorder. 
They defiled past Lieutenant-General von Werder, in the presence 
of H.R.H. the Grand Duke of Baden. 

In Strasburg both Lieutenant-General L^hrich and the pre- 
fect had issued proclamations to the citizens, in which they ex- 
pressed their sympathy with the hard lot of the inhabitants 
during the siege, and their confidence that they would accept the 
new state of affairs worthily and peaceably. 

September 29. — The taking over of the property, barracks, 
&c. continued. The commimications destroyed were repaired 
and opened, especially the bridges and gateways of the fortress. 

September 30 — being the birthday of Her Majesty the Queen, 
and a day to be remembered after the occupation of Strasburg for 
200 years by the French troops — the entry of the siege army 
corps took place, with Lieutenant-General von Werder at its head. 
This event was celebrated by a thanksgiving service in the church 
of St. Thomas. The siege cost the garrison some 2,000 men 
killed and wounded, the civil population some 400 or 500 persons, 
and the besieging army 43 officers, and 863 men killed and 

Without making any imputation on the military honour of the 
brave and worthy governor, but looking at the matter in a purely 
military aspect, it is a fact that the time for capitulation had 
not arrived. More light will probably be thrown on this point 
hereafter. The want of discipline was no doubt one cause of 
disaster for the defence, but it is nevertheless certain that even a 
better garrison could not have held out mucli longer. For to 
remain on the ramparts under the incessant cannonade was almost 
impossible ; a breach had been effected, the citadel was almost 
destroyed, the entrance gateway of the city was shot to pieces. 
Under these circumstances, and as there was no flanking fire 
along the bottom of the ditches, an attempt to storm the fortress 
was almost sure of success. The capitulation, at all events, had 
the effect of preventing one or more assaults, which would have 


entailed more bloodshed and serious loss of life. The capture of 
Strasburg was of decided military importance for the prosecution 
of the war, but it was of far greater moment politically. The 
German city of Strashurg had surrendered to us, had again 
become German, and ivoidd, it ivas hoped, long remain so. In 
a few years the city, heavily though it suffered by the war — for 
its losses have been publicly estimated to amount to 50,800,000 
francs (£2,032,000) — will flourish again, and its wounds, which 
we inflicted with heavy hearts, will be healed. 




(plate VIII.) 

ScHLETTSTADT, a fortress of the second class — which indicates, 
however, only its present relative position — is situated on the 111, 
not far from the small affluent the Griesen, and consists of eight 
tolerably regular bastions, constrvicted on Vauban's principles in 
] 673. Most of the bastions are provided with ravelins of the form 
of small lunettes. Nine similar works are placed in the re-enter- 
ing angles at the foot of the glacis, and of these one on the north 
and one on the south front respectively, are advanced farther into 
the country. These works are obviously intended to bring the 
ground in front under a cross-fire, and to keep the works of a 
besieger at a distance from the enceinte, for which piu'pose they 
have been constructed with a low profile, so that their fire may be 
as grazing as possible. There are no other outworks, except a 
redoubt raised in the inundated ground to the south of the fortress. 
Most of the bastions have orillons to protect the retired flanks, 
and some of them have cavaliers seeing far over the country. The 
curtains are broken. The fortress contains three powder-magazines, 
an arsenal, and several barracks. The last-named buildings are 
not bombproof. Three gates, each covered by one of the ravelins, 
lead respectively to Colmar, Strasburg, and Neu-Breisach. The 
important highroad from Strasburg to Colmar passes by the 
fortress, 300 paces to the westward ; 400 paces farther to the west 
is the railroad between Belfort, Basle, and Strasburg. The 111, 
always full of water, can be made use of, by means of a well-pro- 
tected sluice near the Gate of Breisach, for inundating the ground 
to the south of the fortress, which is partly meadow-land and 
partly marsh. Several branches of the stream are also avail- 
able for this purpose. At the same time part of the ditches of 
the fortress can be supplied with water. 

The strategic object of Schlettstadt is to command the railway 
leading to Belfort and Besanpon, the highroad already mentioned, 
at the mouth of the populous and industrious Vosges valley of St. 
Marie-aux-Mines, through which pass the railway and road to 
Luneville. During the war it served for the numerous bands of 
franc-tireurs, who hung about Upper Alsace, as a place of as- 
sembly, of which it was necessary to deprive them. The passage 
of the Vosges here had the advantage that it was never closed by 
snowdrifts, as happens frequently with most of the mountain- 
passes thereabouts. 

It will be remembered, that on the 14th September a detach- 


ment, composed of troops of the Grand Duchy of Baden — consist- 
ing of four battalions, eight squadrons, three batteries, and a 
pioneer detachment — under the command of Greneral Keller, was 
ordered from the Strasburg siege corps to disarm Upper Alsace, 
disperse the franc-tireurs, and prevent the organisation of a popu- 
lar war in that quarter. A detachment of Baden troops, with the 
same objects, had in the beginning of September already won a 
victory at Markirch. This mission led also to a reconnaissance 
being undertaken against Schlettstadt, and in this way trustworthy 
information was obtained with regard to the garrison and the 
state of preparation of the fortress. Tlie preparations were fully 
completed ; the rayon was clear of cover, and the glacis of timber, 
while the country round was placed under water. The conviction 
was arrived at, that the fortress was not to be taken by a sudden 
attack, and it was thought sufficient at the time to break the 
telegraphic communication with Colmar, and to destroy the railway 
by blowing up some bridges. The fortress was also observed more 
completely than before, and was occasionally shelled with iield- 
guns, after an unavailing demand to surrender had been made to the 
commandant (Count von Reinach), on the strength of the events 
that had taken place at Sedan. 

Meanwhile in the neighbourhood of Freiburg, in Breisgau, on 
the right (the German) bank of the Rhine, the formation of 
the 4th Prussian reserve division, under the command of 
Major-General von Schmeling, had been completed. It received 
orders, accordingly, to commence its military career with the cap- 
ture of the fortresses of Schlettstadt and Neu-Breisach. For 
this end the division crossed the Rhine, on the 1st and 2nd 
October, at Neuenburg, five leagues above Neu-Breisach, by means 
of ferry-boats, which had been in preparation for some time pre- 
viously, in consequence of the resistance of the French population 
in that quarter. 

In this state of affairs orders were given to invest Neu-Breisach 
at the same time. Action was chiefly, however, taken against 
Schlettstadt, as it was convenient to have the rear free, and to have 
direct communication with Strasburg, which was necessary in 
order to draw from thence siege-materiel of all descriptions, and 
especially heavy siege-guns. 

That part of the 4th reserve division which was told off for 
the closer investment of the fortress of Schlettstadt, consisted of 
battalions of the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 43rd, and 45th landwehr regi- 
ments, the 25th (1st Rhenish) regiment (which had just arrived 
from Schleswig, and was attached to the division), of two reserve 
field-batteries, and of one squadron each of the 1st East Prussian and 
the 3rd reserve ulan regiments. These troops, on the 9th October, 
went into cantonments close round the fortress. After the Com- 
mandant of the fortress had rejected, offliand, the demand to 
surrender, with the words " mes conditions seront les canons," steps 
were at once taken for bringing from Strasburg the necessary 
materials for the siege — guns, brushwood, &c. — and the siege detach- 
ment was reinforced by the 11th garrison company of artillery. 


and four garrison pioneer companies — viz., two Prussian and 
one Bavarian company, and one company of the Grand Duchy 
of Baden. The siege artillery was placed under the command of 
Lieutenant-Colonel von Scheliha, and Lieutenant-Colonel .Sander, 
of the engineer staff, directed the works of the siege. 

On the night of the 19th-20th October a battery was con- 
structed against the east front of the fortress, on the other side of 
the inundated ground, and was armed with four rifled 1 2-pounders. 
This battery opened fire on the morning of the 20th October, and 
had to maintain a fight alone, for three days, against nine guns of 
the fortress. 

The south-west front was selected for the attack, because the 
groimd there was beyond the limits of the inundation, and was 
such that the trenches might be expected to be dry. The latter 
was an advantage not to be despised. Headquarters during the 
bombardment were in Kiihnheim. 

On the night of the 22nd-23rd October, the first parallel, with 
communications to tlie rear, was thrown up by the common saj^*' 
opposite the south-west front. It was at a distance of only 700 
paces from the fortress, and though it was so close, and the night 
was clear and quiet, it was not observed by the enemy. This shows 
how poorly they did their duty, for they seem to have altogether 
omitted to send out night-patrols over the ground in front of the 
works. The trench-work was commenced as night fell, and was 
very difficult, on account of the rocky nature of the soil ; the few 
shells and case, which towards morning were fired from the 
fortress, went much too far, and occasioned the loss of only three men. 
At the same time that these trenches were put in hand, the con- 
struction of six separate siege-batteries was commenced ; and on the 
morning of the 23rd they were armed with -1:4 guns in all — namely, 
12 rifled 24-pounders, 20 rifled 1 2-pounders, and 12 heavy mortars — 
and forthwith opened fire. The fire was directed chiefly against 
the gates within reach, the works, and the military buildings. 
Unavoidably, however, some of tlie townspeople's houses were also 
set in flames. The artillery of the garrison brought into action 
some 30 guns. The activity which they displayed in replacing the 
numerous guns that were dismounted, and in adding to and altering 
the emplacements for guns, deserves recognition. However, the 
injuries done by the siege-batteries to the guns of the garrison 
were considerable, and it was barely possible for them to remain on 
the ramparts. The Colmar gate, with its drawbridges, was shot 
to pieces. Under these circumstances it was not surprising that the 
fire of the garrison should gradually slacken, wliile the besiegers, 
on the night of the 23rd-24th October, kept up theirs successfully, 
and with ever-increasing effect. 

On the 24th October, about 9 a.m., the French hung out the 
white flag on the cathedral and on some of the works, and in con- 
sequence Major von Kretschman, of the general staff, was sent into 
the fortress, to commence negotiations for a surrender. The 
governor desired an armistice for 24 hours, which was, however, 

* See note p. 4G. 


only granted to him until 2.30 in the afternoon. There is no 
doubt that tlie state of affairs in the fortress materially hastened 
the conclusion of a capitulation. In consequence of the damage 
by fire caused by the siege-batteries, as mentioned above, to the 
buildings of the town, the townspeople were urgent for a surrender ; 
but of still more importance was the demoralised condition of the 
garrison, among whom there was no longer any discipline. The 
want of trained artillerymen, who were scarcely sufficient for two 
reliefs, and (as at Strasburg) the entire absence of any detachment 
of engineers, were undoubtedly most disadvantageous to the defence. 
Soldierlike spirit and military discipline had been alike irrecover- 
ably lost ever since the place had been first invested. It could not 
otherwise have happened that a detachment of 300 gardes mobiles, 
who had been sent on a reconnaissance to some distance from the 
fortress, never came back again, but preferred to go home, and 
there willingly allowed themselves to be disarmed by some Baden 
troops, without offering any resistance. In fact, on the day of the 
capitulation, the garrison were for the most part drunk, and em- 
ployed in pillaging, and had thrown off all discipline. Some of 
them actually set fire to private houses, and went about with the 
intention of blowing up the powder-magazines. 

While the French officers were endeavoviring to prevent this, 
the governor tliought proper, contrary to his instructions and to 
the custom of war, to leave the fortress, and continue the negotia- 
tions outside the gates within range of the besiegers' forces, and 
under these circumstances brought them, at any rate, to a rapid 
conclusion. The capitulation was not even ratified by the general 
in command, but, as a precaution against greater mishaps, three 
Prussian battalions marched into the fortress, to prevent further 
excesses of the French garrison, and chiefly to protect the 
threatened powder-magazines, which were pointed out in detail 
by Colonel Pinot, commanding the artillery. About 3 o'clock in 
the afternoon the capitulation was concluded, and an hour later the 
fortress was evacuated by the garrison of 100 officers and 2,000 
men of the different arms, including gardes • mobiles, who were 
made prisoners of war. In consequence of an order proceeding 
from headquarters, the officers did not, as in previous capitula- 
tions, have the option granted to them of going away free on 
parole. The booty consisted chiefly of 122 garrison guns, 50 of 
them rifled — of which 116 were mounted on the ramparts, but 24 
had been dismounted — besides considerable stocks of tobacco, pro- 
visions, and stores of other descriptions. 

The damages done to private property by the bombardment 
were estimated at 2,500,000 francs (£100,000). 

On the 25th October, Major-General von Schmeling made his 
entry into the fortress. The occasion was celebrated by ringing 
the bells, and by holding an evangelical and catholic thanksgiving 

Plate. IX. 

Fapyroty-pe S.MK. 



(plate IX.) 

Neu-Breisacii was at one time a model fortress of Marshal 
Vauban, and is built according to liis third system. It consists of 
a regular bastioned octagon, at the salients of which bastion-shaped 
towers have been erected. The ditches are dry, and swept 
by the fire of sunken works in front of the curtains, called 
' tenailles', while the masonry of the bastions is protected from di- 
rect fire by large outworks or count erguards. In front of the eight 
tenailles are situated the same number of very spacious ravelins, 
which are thus placed, both to fire, generally, over the ground in 
front, and also to give a cross-fire over the space in front of the 
bastions. The roads to Colmar, Strasburg, Basle, and Belfort pass 
through the ravelins, so that the entrances, and the lines of the 
roads, are thoroughly swept by the fire of the guns. There are 
no outworks anywhere, except a small lunette built close to the foot 
of the glacis in front of the east face, and intended to flank the 
Rhone-Ehine canal. Fort Mortier, which played an important 
part in the bombardment of the place, lies about 2,000 paces 
from the fortress, towards which it faces. It serves apparently 
as a bridge-head, and is supported on the defences of Alt- 
Breisach, which have long since fallen into ruins. As it was situ- 
ated on the French bank of the river, and could be advantageously 
made use of for the defence of the ground between Neu-Breisach 
and the Rhine, and also to command the island there, which, with 
a flying-bridge, formed a means of communication with Alt-Brei- 
sach, it had, in spite of its advanced position, been maintained as 
a means of strengthening the fortress, and had been made securely 
defensible, by the addition of a suitable gorge, in the form of a 
bastioned front, on the side towards Grermany. The fortress had 
ample oasemated buildings and well-protected powder-magazines. 
More recently, its defensive strength had been increased by the 
construction of earthen traverses, and of shelter-casemates on the 
rampart, to afford cover for the guard of the ramparts and the men 
serving the guns. 

The Rlione-Rhine canal flows through the ground in front of 
the fortress, circles round the east front, and is of some use for the 
defence. A second canal, the canal de Vauban, flows round the 
west of the fortress, and connects the 111 with the Rhine-Rhone canal. 
The ground in front lies low everywhere, and is protected on the east 
by the banks of the Rhine, which are clothed with willow plan- 
tations, and by the numerous islands, and on the west by the Kasten 
Wald. The surrounding country is divided, for defensive purposes, 


into several sections by the features of the ground. The town, 
being purely a military fortress, is very regularly built, and ex- 
clusively of one-storied houses. It has only 3,500 inhabitants, most 
of them employed in the timber trade. Neu-Breisach had never 
before been besieged. 

The occupation of Neu-Breisach was necessary for the German 
forces, because the fortress bars the roads leading by Colmar, which 
is only a few miles distant, to Luneville, and also the Ehine-Ehone 
canal, and because, by its capture, the last stronghold in Upper 
Alsace — from which, moreover, operations could have been under- 
taken against the Baden Oberland — would be wrested from the 

The constant good fortune which had attended the Grerman 
arms since the beginning of the campaign had produced an ex- 
treme feeling of exasperation among the population of Upper 
Alsace, who, already prejudiced against everything German, had 
hitherto been spared the horrors of war. This feeling had 
especially taken root in the great manufacturing towns, Colmar 
and Mlihlhausen, and had been cherished by every means avail- 
able. Circumstances necessitated the closing of a great many 
of the manufactories. Terrorism was the result, and many thou- 
sand workmen, thus deprived of their daily bread, were placed in a 
most precarious position. It suited the purpose of the authori- 
ties to give to the public feeling a purely political colouring, in 
order to organise thoroughly a popular war, and for ttiis purpose 
to make use of Neu-Breisach as a central rallying- point for 
the movement. Partly on these accounts, and also to obtain more 
detailed information concerning the fortresses of Schlettstadt, 
and especially Neu-Breisach, which were then coming into notice, 
small reconnoitring parties were sent out at the beginning ot 
September, both from the force investing Strasburg, and from 
the German troops stationed in the Baden Oberland, who 
crossed the Rhine for the purpose. Finally, on the 14th Sep- 
tember, Baden patrols pushed their way close up to Breisach, 
and showed themselves in Arzenheim and Biesheim, to the north 
of the fortress, after crossing the Rhine between Diebolsheim and 
Kappel. In consequence of this, the bridge which crosses the 
Rhine at the custom-house, was blown up with gunpowder b}^ the 
garrison of Breisach. 

As has been already mentioned, in speaking of Strasburg and 
Schlettstadt, a detachment of the troops of the Grand Duchy of 
Baden, under the command of General Keller, marclied on the 
same day from the circle of investment of Strasburg for Upper 
Alsace, and with this object in view arrived on the 15th September 
at Colmar, on the 1 6th at Miihlhausen. On arriving at Colmar, 
they received exact intelligence that the commandant of Neu- 
Breisach was aware of this expedition, and would oppose General 
Keller's advance. To prevent this being done, an attempt was 
made on the part of the Germans to find the enemy, and in 
consequence a squadron of the 2nd regiment of Baden dragoons 
and the fusilier battalion of the 5th Baden regiment almost 


immediately came into contact with them. On the loth this 
flanking column, which was intended to cover the further advance 
to Colmar, was involved in an engagement with the enemy, south 
of Kiinheim. The latter consisted of a party of gardes mobiles 
and a detachment of cavalry from the fortress, into which they 
were at once driven back. The Baden troops suffered only the 
small loss of two men and five horses, but that of the French was 
far more considerable. In this encounter Second-Lieutenant 
Maier was taken prisoner, but immediately rescued again by his 

While Breisach was observed by a small party of Baden troops, 
the main body of Greneral Keller's detachment was performing 
the duty with which it had been charged. It occupied Colmar, 
Miihlhausen, and Cernay, hunted down the French bands of franc- 
tireurs, disarmed the communes, and started upon its return to 
Strasburg, after drawing in the detachment which had been left 
before Breisach. The commandant of the fortress took advantage 
of the opportunity to seize at Munzenheim, on the 19th 
September, a convoy of arms, w^hich was on its way, under an 
escort of thirty men, from Miihlhausen for the Baden troops. 
General Keller's detachment arrived before Strasburg again on the 
20th September, and soon after its return the gardes mobiles in 
Colmar and Miihlhausen once more took up arms. A party of 
French troops of the line, coming from Belfort, occupied 
Miihlhausen ; the garrison of Breisach was reinforced by some 
gardes mobiles, and scoured the country round, especially the 
banks of the Ehine, with numerous patrols. The French gardes 
mobiles and franc-tireurs appeared again in many jjlaces on the 
Upper Rhine, and now, as before, spread disorder around. It 
seemed as if the expedition of General Keller had been premature, 
as at that time they were not ordered to occupy permanently the 
district in question ; for this purpose the detachment was too weak. 

In order to put an end to these French republican movements 
in Upper Alsace, and especially to cut them off from Neu-Breisach, 
which served as a rallying point for these operations, in the begin- 
ning of October detachments of the 4th Prussian reserve divi- 
sion, then in course of formation, were sent across the Ehine from 
Breisgau to invest the fortress. 

On the 5th October, towards evening, the French, about 
2,000 strong, made a sortie, whicli was vigorously repulsed by three 
companies of the 43rd landwehr regiment. These were em- 
ployed foraging in the villages of Heitern, Balgau, and Nams- 
heim. The troops engaged in the sortie suffered severely from a 
heavy Prussian battery, which hurried up at a trot from the canton- 
ments in rear. From the 7th October the place was preliminarily 
bombarded with field-guns only, which nevertheless set the town 
on fire in several places. This cannonade was particidarly heavy 
in the later hours of the day, and especially from the south-west 
and north sides. It was interrupted for a short time at night, and 
continued with the same vigour on the following day. The artil- 
lery of the garrison answered the fire as well as they could. 


Meanwhile the investing force before the place was reinforced 
with troops, and with siege materiel adapted for a more effective 
bombardment. Siege artillery, &c. were eventually sent from 
Strasburg, so that by the 9th October the blockade of the fortress 
may be said to have been close and complete. In order to facili- 
tate the communication of the troops, and the forwarding of 
materiel on the right bank of the Ehine, arrangements were made 
for crossing the Ehine, chiefly with French bridging materials, 
between Arzenheim on the one side, and Jechtlingen on the 
other side, about If miles (8j English miles) north of Neu- 

On the 12th and loth October small sorties and engagements 
at the outposts took place without leading to any result of im- 

On the 26th October the investing and siege corps consisted 


11 battalions "1 r. , , a^-v. -n 

„ , I 01 the 4th Prussian reserve 

2 squadrons |- y ' ' 

4 field-batteries J 

11 garrison companies of artillery, including one company of 
the 3rd Bavarian regiment of garrison artillery, and two 
of the Baden garrison artillery. 
4 companies of Prussian pioneers. 

Major- General von Schmeling was in command of this corps. 
The commanders of the siege artillery and of the engineers were, 
respectively, Lieutenant-Colonel von Scheliha and Lieutenant- 
Colonel Sander. Headquarters were in Klinheim, one mile (4f 
English miles) from Neu-Breisach, on the road to Strasburg. 

As it was intended to oj^erate on Fort Mortier from the right 
bank of the Rhine, the artillery attack was undertaken on that 
side — in the same manner as before Strasburg — by two com- 
panies of garrison artillery and one siege battery, both of the 
Grand Duchy of Baden, with the aid of 12 siege-pieces, con- 
sisting of heavy ^;uns and mortars. 

The construction of the batteries took place simultaneously 
on both banks of the Rhine, on the night of the 1st and 2nd 
November, and was not interfered with by the enemy. The 
Prussians built their batteries near the villages Biesheim and 
Wolfgantzen, the Baden troops about a quarter of a league below 
Alt-Breisach, on a conveniently situated hill, and all opened 
together against the fortress on the 2nd November. The fire was 
directed more particularly upon the fronts of the fortifications 
opposite, and upon the gates and bridges visible, or that could be 
struck, their positions on the north-west and north-east fronts 
being accurately known, as w^ell as against Fort Mortier and the 
splinter-proofs there, and the masonry that could be hit. A great 
effect was produced, especially in the latter work. Both the posi- 
tion and the armament of the batteries were very happily chosen. 
On the left bank of the Rhine only guns were employed, — namely, 
long and short 24-pounders, and siege 12-pounders, and on the 
right bank there were also four 50-pounder mortars. The infantry 


detachment told off to guard these batteries was obliged, in order 
to maintain a careful watch over the fortress, to push its 
outposts by day up to 1,000 paces, and by night, of course 
nearer, up to 400 paces, right on to the glacis. They were 
provided with tools for making rifle-pits to obtain cover, and 
thence patrols were sent forward stealthily to the glacis. The 
duty was as arduous for our landwehr as it was dangerous. A bold 
deed that was done on one such occasion deserves mention. Deputy 
Sergeant-Major Blass, of the Gumbinnen landwehr battalion,, 
with a patrol, fell upon a French picket in a house close in front 
of the glacis, and made them prisoners. 

The capitulation of Metz was officially communicated to the 
commandant of the fortress ; this event had, however, no influ- 
ence on his resolution. 

The artillery fight between the German batteries that have 
been mentioned, and the guns of the fortress, lasted from the morn- 
ing of the 2ud November, day and night, with unabated vigour, 
till the 7th, on which day the cannonade was but slackly answered 
from Fort Mortier. Several of the Prussian batteries had, during 
the night, received new armaments suited to tlie change in their 
objects ; and by a singular coincidence, the long 24-pounders 
taken in Strasburg, and the 27-centimetre mortars from Schlett- 
stadt, did excellent service against their countrymen in the 
bombarded town, where the defence was unmistakably conducted 
with energy and skill. 

Although Fort Mortier had its buildings terribly knocked 
about in every direction by the 3rd November, and had several of 
its guns dismounted, still its garrison fought well, and kept up the 
struggle with all their strength with the guns still remaining unin- 
jured, which it was impossible to replace from Neu-Breisach. 

On the 4th November a great fire was observed on the north- 
west side of Neu-Breisach, near the Colmar gate. The fortress 
seconded the fire from Fort Mortier, and owing to its situation 
set some houses in Old-Breisach on fire, and by this some damage 
was done on the next day to the cathedral of St. Stephen, which 
is remarkable for its architecture. 

On the 5th November the garrison attempted a sortie. 

On the night of the 6th-7th November two mortar batteries 
were built by the besiegers on the left side of the Ehine, to shell 
the attacked fronts of the bastions, and were each armed with four 
mortars of heavy calibre, in order to bring a fire to bear on the 
very active gun detachments on the ramparts, and the covered 
chambers there. An attempt made from Neu-Breisach to with- 
draw the garrison of Fort jNIortier failed the same night. 

Complete preparations had already been made by the siege 
corps for tlie assault of Fort Mortier, when that work unex- 
pectedly, on the night of the 7th-8th November, offered to 
surrender, and the terms were arranged by jNIajor von Kretsch- 
man, of the general staff, with Captain Casteli, commanding the 
fort. At the hour when the assault would have taken place, the 
5 officers and 250 men marched as prisoners of war out of 


the fort, which in every part presented a scene of shocking devas- 
tation. Of the seven guns that had served for its defence, six 
were dismounted — an lionourable and brilliant testimony to the 
efficiency of the Baden batteries that were opposed to the work. 

Soon after this event, the defence of Neu-Breisach also visibly 
became weaker, and the rapidity of fire hitherto maintained fell 
off materially, while the attacking batteries against the fortress on 
the left side of the Khine were as active as ever. They were com- 
pelled to capitulate on the 10th November, and about 2 o'clock 
on that day white flags were hung out on the church-tower of Neu- 
Breisach, and on the ramparts. In accordance with the terms of 
a capitulation, concluded by Major von Kretschman with the 
French commandant, Lieutenant-Colonel de Kehor, at Biesheim, 
which was ratified at 7 o'clock in the evening by Major- 
G-eneral von Schmeling, the Prussian troops occupied the four 
gates of the fortress at 9 o'clock on the morning of the 11th 
November. About 10 o'clock the French garrison marched out 
of the fortress through the Basle gate, in the best order, under 
their commandant. In front of them was the siege corps drawn 
up in open square. 

The Prussians paid well-earned honours to the brave garrison 
by presenting to them, and they then began at once to lay down 
their arms, and were marched off as prisoners of war. 

Some of the prisoners were quartered at Sponeck, others at Neu- 
Breisach, on the right bank of the Rhine. In round numbers 100 
officers and 5,000 men, including three battalions of the 74th 
regiment, were taken. The spoils of war consisted of 108 guns, 
60 horses of the cavalry {chasseurs a cheval), 6,000 cwt. of 
ammunition, 1,300 cwt. of powder, and no inconsiderable stores 
of provisions, which last were all distributed, by command of 
Major-Greneral von Schmeling, for the support of the needy in- 

The town had suffered extraordinarily by the bombardment, 
especially by that of the 7th October. The northern and south- 
western parts had suffered more than the rest. The losses on this 
account that came into liquidation mounted up to 1,300,000 
francs (52,000^) 

During the latter days the greater part of the inhabitants were 
accommodated in the casemates, in order to afford them cover from 
the destructive fire of the attacking batteries. Humour gave 
them the credit of putting pressure on the commandant, to induce 
him to surrender the place, which surrender was, at any rate, some- 
what hastened by the death, on the ramparts, of the French com- 
mander of the artillery. 

The loss of the besiegers was very small, considering the results 
obtained. It amounted altogether to 8 killed and 18 wounded, most 
of them belonging to the artillery. 


Plate X 


7^^ Totes 

lEM.VM Freruhy Army Corps 
^ onthe/ntahtofJlAuaust 



(plate X.) 

Sedan is situated on the railway from Tbionville to Mezieres, at the 
place where it crosses the road leading outof Belgium by Bouillon. 
It has 1 6,000 inhabitants and is an important manufacturing town. 
In the low-lying meadow-land to the westward there are many 
water-courses running into the JNIeuse, which flows through the 
fortress. A mile (4-68 English miles) above Sedan, at Eemilly, 
the river receives the waters of tlie Chiers. On the east the ground 
rises to some steep wooded heights which make the approach from 
that quarter difficult. The fortress of Sedan lies on the right bank 
of the Meuse, opposite the suburb of Torcy, which is enclosed by 
fortifications consisting of fom- bastioned fronts. This bridge-head 
is united with the main work by connecting lines of a similar char- 
acter. The citadel with its high profile, and the castle, in which 
Marshal Turenne was born in 1622, form the kernel of the whole. 
Several hornworks with ravelins cover the citadel on the east, and in 
front of them a spacious entrenchment has been thrown out, in 
order to bring under fire the ground, which is much cut u]), and also 
the road to Liittich. The ditches are wet only on the south-front, 
which lies low, and here, as in other parts of the fortifications, they 
have retaining walls in good repair. The fortress may, therefore, 
be considered as perfectly secure from assaidt, and an attack is not 
practicable without regular engineering preliminaries. However, 
the masonry is not everywhere sufficiently covered, considering the 
present ranges of artillery, for a long resistance. Nor does the 
place possess sufficient bombproof casemates for the garrison and 
the provisions. Moreover the spacious and extended works on the 
right bank of the Meuse are not such as to receive the numbers 
of troops necessary for counter-attacks on a large scale. This is a 
most essential point if a fortress is to be of use in modern warfare. 
The stock of provisions on hand was in no case sufficient to maintain, 
even for a few days, the great masses of French troops who were com- 
pelled to fall back upon the fortress ; so that, immediately after the 
battle, it became necessary to have recourse, by agreement, to the 
resources of the neighbouring fortress of Mezieres. 

The fortress cannot be looked upon as having in itself any 
gi'eat strategical importance. Nevertheless, in its immediate 
neighbourhood, owing to the unexpected course of the events of 
the war, was fought one of the most important battles of the 

36996. - F 


campaign of 1870, having results of the widest influenT;e on its 
further progress. 

It will be remembered that immediately after the battles round 
Metz, the movements and strength of MacMahon's army remained 
for some time unknown. Meanwhile that army had reached 
Chalons, and the Marshal had to march thence to the northward by 
the positive command of Count Palikao, the War Minister, with 
the object of dividing the Grerman forces and relieving Marshal 
Bazaine, who was shut up in Metz. But the Grerman Army, on 
the contrary, which was advancing on Paris, closed up to the north- 
ward, covered its right flank with the Thionville-Montmedy- 
Sedan railroad, and thus drove the enemy's forces from the line 
Stenay-Varennes, into the narrow space between the Mezieres and 
Sedan railway and the boundary of the neutral country of Belgium. 

In consequence of the victory won at Beaumont on the 30th of 
August by the 1st Bavarian, the IVth Prussian, and the Xllth corps, 
the situation of the French Army in that position became precarious, 
and they were compelled to concentrate immediately around 
Sedan. The march to Metz must be considered as completely 
abandoned at this time. 

On the 31st of August the Grerman army undertook such move- 
ments as were necessary for sm-rounding the enemy. They kept 
in contact with him, and the artillery of the 1st Bavarian army 
corps had an opportunity of shelling the French columns as they 
were retreating, at first in some order, but at last in complete rout, 
upon Sedan. 

It was not impossible that the French corps in and round Sedan, 
threatened as they were by the Grerman army, but still concentrated, 
might nevertheless endeavour, by a rapid march to the west or 
east, to set themselves free from their position. For this reason 
the G-erman army had to draw more closely round them an unbroken 
girdle of investment. 

Accordingly, on the evening of the 31st of August and during 
the following night, the Grerman armies were posted as follows : — 

IVth Akmt. — Right Wing. 

The Gruard Corps at Carignan on the right bank of the Chiers. 

The Xllth Saxon Corps at Mairy. 

The IVth Corps on the left bank of the Meuse at Sedan. 

IIIrd Aemy. — Left Wing. 

The 1st Bavarian Corps at Eemilly. 
The Ilnd Bavarian Corps at Raucourt. 
The Vth Prussian Corps at Chehery. 
The Xlth Prussian Corps at Donchery. 
The Royal Wiirtemberg Division at Boutauc6m-t. 
The Vlth Army Corps in reserve at Attigny and Semuy, ready 
to stop the enemy if he should break out to the westward. 

Opposite to the positions of the Germans the French on the 
same night stood thus : — 


1. Right Wing. — 12th corps, Gfeneral Lebrun, at La Moncelle, 

Platiniere, and Petite Moncelle. 

2. In the Centre^ on the heights of Daigny and between La 
Moncelle and Givonne, the 1st corps, General Ducrot. 
The 5th corps, General Wimpffen, on the heights which 
command the Givonne valley, rested its right on the 1st 
and its left on the 3rd corps. 

3. Left Wing. — The 3rd corps, General Douay, from Floing as 

far as the hill of Illy. 

The position described an arc of a circle round Sedan from 
south-west to north-west, and extended over a line of 5 
kilometres {"^-^-^ miles) in length, about 4 kilometres {2\ 
miles) from the fortress. 

There was thus a gap on the east through which the French 
army, even if in disorder, might reach the Belgian frontier. They 
accepted battle, however, and that opening was practically closed 
for the first time in the com'se of the afternoon of the 1st Sep- 
tember, at Illy, by the guard and the Vth corps. 

On the morning of the 1st September the fight began with a 
general advance of the German corps towards the French position. 
His Majesty the Emperor and King halted on the hill at Frenois. 
In what follows we will only mention the critical events of this 
day of hard fighting in the order in which they occm-red. 

The fight began at 4 o'clock in the morning, at Bazeilles. 
This place was taken after several sanguinary attacks, and the 
enemy was driven back beyond Balan by the 1st Bavarian corps 
and Walther's division of the Ilnd Bavarian corps. The Emperor 
Napoleon was present, close to the fight round Bazeilles. 

From half-past 6 till half-past 9 o'clock the fight was 
pivoted on the position of La Moncelle-Daigny. The Xllth corps 
with its 23rd division took Moncelle ; about 12 o'clock Daig-ny 
fell into the hands of the same corps aided by the 2nd ouard 
division. The 23rd division pm-sued the advantage they had 
gained and the guards got round the flank of the enemy at Illy. 
All the batteries went up the captured heights, and nearly 100 
guns were in action on the right wing. As already mentioned, the 
connection of the guard corps with the Vth corps at Illy was 
completed about 3 o'clock. 

On the left wing of the combined German armies the Xlth 
corps took Monges and thrust back the enemy on to his strong- 
position between Floing and Illy. Here they came under a 
reverse fire from the Bavarian batteries which were posted on the 
left bank of the Meuse, north and north-east of Frenois. 

The corps-artillery of the Xlth and Vth corps came into action 
most effectively at Fleigneux. The Xlth corps and the 19th in- 
fantry brigade took Floing about 1 o'clock in the afternoon. The 
enemy made some vigorous, but unavailing, attacks with his 

About 3 o'clock the enemy was in full retreat from different 
sides on Sedan, after Illy had been captured and he had lost the 
Bois de la Garenne. 

F 2 


During the fight nearly 25,000 prisoners were made, partly by the 
IVth army, partly by the Bavarian troops, the Xlth, and the Vth 
corps ; and 25 guns, 7 mitrailleiurs, 2 flags, and 1 eagle were 

On the French side Marshal MacMahon was wounded at the 
beginning of the battle, and, in the course of the action, on the 
German side, Greneral von GTersdorf, commanding temporarily the 
Xlth army corps, was also wounded. At first Greneral Ducrot 
became Commander-in-Chief of the French Army ; but subse- 
quently, in conseouence of an order from the Ministry, Greneral 
Wimpffen, being senior in the service, took the command. The 
former, acting on instructions received from the Marshal, made 
arrangements for a retreat on Mezieres, but the latter cancelled 
the orders. It was, in fact, plain from the movements of the 
French during the fight that they first intended to break through 
to the west and then to the eastward. Round Sedan there were at 
the last 400 to 500 German guns in action. The fortress itself was 
only shelled by some Bavarian batteries during the later hours of 
the afternoon, and a forage store was set on fire. The Emperor 
Napoleon was taken prisoner ; and the French army, completely 
shut in by a force of twice their strength, unable to break through 
or to jDrolong their resistance, after a council of war had been held 
under the presidency of General Wimpffen, were compelled to 
surrender. The negotiations were carried on in the chateau of 
Bellevue at Frenois and concluded at midday on the 2nd September. 

Besides the prisoners made on the previous day, there fell thus 
into the hands of the victors 83,000 men, 14,000 French wounded, 
400 field guns, including 70 mitrailleurs, many horses, and military 
stores, besides the fortress of Sedan with 184 garrison guns. 

As a proof of the communication that existed between the 
generals of the French armies at Sedan and at Metz, we may here 
add, for the sake of completeness, that on the 31st August and the 
1 st September a severe action took place at the latter fortress also, 
Bazaine's army attempting to force its way out. 

As the Convention of Sedan was taken as a model on several 
other similar occasions in the course of the campaign, its text is 
here given : — 

" Between the undersigned, the Chief of the General Staff of 
King William of Prussia, Commander-in-Chief of the German 
armies, and the General-in-Chief of the French armies, both pro- 
vided with full powers from their Majesties King William and the 
Emperor Napoleon, the following convention has been concluded : 

"Art. 1. The French army, under the command of General 
Wimpffen, being now surrounded by superior forces at Sedan, give 
themselves up as prisoners of war. • 

" Art. 2. In consideration of the courageous defence made by 
this French army, all the generals, officers, and officials ranking 
with officers are to receive their freedom as soon as they shall have 
given their words of honour in writing not to take up arms again 
during the present war, nor to act in any way contrary to the in- 
terests of Germany. The officers and officials who accept these 


conditions are to retain tlieir arms and the personal property belong- 
ing to them. 

" Art. 3. All arms and warlike stores, consisting of flags, eagles, 
guns, ammunition, &c. will be given over in Sedan to a military 
commission appointed by the French General, who will hand them 
over forthwith to a German commission. 

" Art. 4. The fortress of Sedan will be placed at the disposal of 
his Majesty the King of Prussia, in its present condition, by the 
2nd September at the latest. 

" Art. 5. The officers who do not enter into the engagement 
mentioned in the 2nd article, as well as the troops, will be surren- 
dered, without their arms, and drawn up by regiments and corps 
in military order. This proceeding will commence on the 2nd 
September and be ended on the 3rd. These bodies of troops will 
be marched on to the ground wliich is bounded by the Meuse at 
Iges, in order to be given over to the German commissioners by 
the officers, who will then hand over their command to the non- 
commissioned officers. The staff-surgeons shall, without exception, 
remain behind to attend the wounded. Given at Fresnois on the 
2nd September 1870. 

"Von Moltke. 

" Geaf Wimpffen." 



(plate XI.) 

Metz has 50,000 inhabitants, and is one of the strongest fort- 
resses of Europe, and, as a fortification, much more considerable 
than Paris. It has, during centuries past, been often besieged, but 
never taken. 

The fortress is situated on both sides of the Moselle, which 
forms on the south the islands of St. Symphorien and Saidey, and on 
the north the island of Chambiere. The river is navigable at 
Metz, is 200 to 250 paces wide above the fortress, but only 100 to 
180 paces below it, and is 4 feet deep; but often, after heavy 
storms of rain, or when the snow is thawing, becomes as much as 
8 or 10 feet. The principal part of the town lies on the right bank 
of the Moselle, and is enclosed by a girdle of fortifications. The lines 
commence at the island of Sauley, cross from the left to the right 
bank of the river, and continue on that side until they reach the 
island of Chambiere. Here there are two advanced works, the 
lunettes Chambiere and Miollis, whose fire is directed upon the two 
arms of the river. Between the Sauley defences and the Chambiere 
lunette, on the left bank of the Moselle, lies the large fort La 
Moselle, consisting of two whole and two half bastions. This 
work commands the roads to Thionville and Verdun (Paris) as 
well as the railway from Thionville to Metz, for which the tem- 
porary railway station (Devaut les ponts) is situated close to the 
foot of the glacis. 

The connected lines of the place turn to the east on the island 
of Chambiere,*and form the eastern and southern defences of the 
town, consisting of eleven irregular bastioned fronts, with ravelins 
outside. The ditches are partly dry and partly wet, but in time 
of war can all be placed under water. Tliis is effected by sluices 
connected with the small right arm of the Moselle. The 
enceinte of the city is covered by several advanced works close 
in front. Among these are, on the south, the citadel, consist- 
ing of a crown-work with a ravelin, and the advanced lunettes 
d'Arpon and Eogniat. These command the island of St. Sym- 
phorien and the ground to the south, with the railway works, as 
well as the road to Nancy. The redoubt du Pate lies to the 
east of the citadel to command the low ground of the Seylle, 
which can be made use of for an extensive inundation. The 

_^ *Juru 


iboc Seo 

\ illllliil 


O /gpo 2cpo 3<^oo ^OQ Sopt^ Sooolui, 

• • • • • mPriL'fsiaji Unt'of mve.sfffurif 

I f L tJte c7i d of All (^f/sf 


stream flows between this redoubt and the advanced work, Fort 
Gisors, into the town. The latter fort. commands the road to Stras- 
burg and the valley of the Chenau rivulet, which also can be 
tm'ned to account to flood the hollow ground. 

On the north-east of the town, between the roads leading to 
Saarlouis and Bouzonville, and guarding those roads, lies the great 
Fort Bellecroix, consisting of three bastioned fronts, with ravelins. 
The left demi-bastion and the adjoining bastion flank also the 
island of Chambiere, and the left bank of the Moselle in the direc- 
tion of St. Eloy. 

In front of these inner works, which serve for the immediate 
defence of the town, at a distance of 3,000 to 5,000 paces 
from the enceinte, are a number of detached forts, pushed 
forward on the surrounding heights and points of defensive im- 
portance. These guard most effectively, and at greater distances 
from the place, the roads leading to Metz. The traces of these 
works are exceedingly well laid out, and they have strong profiles, 
and the forts possess, therefore, almost without exception, great 
capabilities of defence. Their development of front is considerable. 
Some of their garrisons amount to 3,000 men, and the armaments 
in some of them to upwards of 100 guns. These detached forts 
are as follows : Fort St. Julien, on the north-east of the town, on 
a height about 770 feet above the Moselle, to command the valley 
of the lower Moselle and the road leading to Bouzonville ; Fort 
Queleu, at an elevation of 693 feet, between the road to Stras- 
bm-g and the Seylle ; Fort St. Quentin and Fort Plappeville, the 
latter named also Des Carrieres, covering Fort Moselle, and firing 
over an elevated plateau 1,000 feet high, across which passes the 
road to Verdun and Paris. 

Between these four older forts a number of additional detached 
works have been inserted more recentl}^, jsarticularly since the 
Luxemburg affair in 1867, namely. Forts Embarcadere and St. 
Privat on the -south, Les Bottes on the east of the fortress, on the 
road to Saarlouis, St. Eloy, between the Moselle and the road to 
Thionville, and two smaller works north of Fort St. Julien, on the 
road to Bouzonville. 

All the forts, though their construction was not quite com- 
pleted, were connected by lines of telegraph with the main work, 
and to some extent with one another. 

In the protection afforded by these detached forts lies the 
real strength of Metz, for they render it difficult completely to 
surround the fortress, and, owing to the great circumference of the 
works, make it necessary to employ a very large investing force. 
They secure the main work from bombardment, and the attack 
upon the enceinte cannot even be commenced until one or more 
of them have fallen. Finally, they give the main work the 
character of an entrenched camp, and allow of the concentration 
under their shelter of vast masses of troops and of rapid offensive 

Metz possesses enormous military stores of every description, and 
was most amply provided with powder and with guns. As regards 


military establishments, it contains a military clothing factory, a 
depot for the equipment of cavalry, a laboratory-school, a school 
of fortification, and a powder factory. The manufactm'e of powder 
is a monopoly in France. The arsenal for the engineers, almost 
the only one in France, and two arsenals for the artillery, are 
situated in the Gruisen entrenchment, which adjoins the citadel. 
These depots contained arms and equipment complete for an army 
of 150,000 men. 

The barracks of the engineers, the only ones in the fortress 
that are bombproof, are on the Konigsplatz, those of the artillery 
at the Chambiere gate, and those of the infantry in Fort Moselle, 
where also is situated the hospital prepared for the reception of 
1,900 men. 

The drinking-water in Metz is bad, and tends to produce fevers; 
during the last few years, therefore, an underground conduit has 
been made, which draws its supply from Gorze, two miles (9*4 
English mile?) to the west of the fortress, and brings daily to the 
place 10,000 cubic metres of wholesome water. Another, but a 
secondary conduit, brings water to the place from a collecting 
reservoir near Gravelotte. 

Metz was orignally a German city. Under the secret influence 
of the priests, as at Strasburg, it was transferred by treachery into 
the hands of France, whose King, Henry II., in the year 1552, caused 
the city and fortress to be occupied by the Constable Montmorency. 
A fruitless siege was undertaken by the Emperor Charles V., and con- 
ducted by the Duke of Alva for a period of sixty-five days, against 
the fortress, which was even then of great strength. The place 
was first formally handed over to France by the Treaty of West- 
phalia in 1648. 

Notwithstanding tlie great strategical importance of Metz in a 
war with Germany, and in spite of its important position on the 
actual theatre of war, the fortress was at the outbreak of the cam- 
paign in an unprepared condition. Serious preparations for a siege, 
as regards both the fortifications and the artillery were first under- 
taken after the battle of Forbach, and for this purpose nearly 
15,000 peasants were summoned from the country to the fortress, 
who later on were unable to get out again, and consequently had 
to be subsisted. 

Under these circumstances it would not have been absolutely 
impossible for the Prussians, at the expense, perhaps, of heavy 
losses, to have established themselves in Fort Bellecroix, after the 
battle of the 14th August. It is another question whether it 
would have been possible to hold this position, situated immediately 
in front of the main work, when the French, after three days disorder 
of their closely massed forces, had fallen back upon the fortress, 
some 160,000 strong, on the night of the 18th-19th August. 
The consequences of the battles of the 14th, 16th, and 18th of 
August w^ere not known until after the capitulation of Metz, on 
the 27th October. In the French army, which had been beaten 
four times in succession, discipline was relaxed, the power of 
taking the offensive, always considered a special attribute of the 

French, was wanting, and the army required, before everything, a 
thorough re-organisation. This was a circumstance that stood us 
in good stead, and prevented tlie French from making use of the 
advantages offered to them by the strength of the fortress. 

After the investment of the fortress by the 1st and Ilnd armies 
the preparation of the fortifications and the armaments for the de- 
fence were continued. The works in progress were in great measure 
masked from the investing force, owing to the extent of tlie circle 
round which the French tield-army was posted. The gan-ison and 
the national guards, together amounting to 30,000 men, were in the 
fortress during the investment. 

Fort Plappeville, as well as all the other detached forts, was 
strengthened by the construction of traverses, expense magazines, 
and stockades, and brought into communication with tlie adjoining 
Fort St. Quentin by a covered road. This road was flanked by a 
lunette placed in the centre. The chief object was to complete as 
speedily as possible the works in course of construction, and to put 
the place in a defensible condition by completing the parapets and 
the gorges of the works, by constructing temporary bombproofs, 
and by clearing the zone of fire. In the main work only were the 
preparations complete for resisting a sudden attack, the gates and 
bridges properly guarded, the flank defences put in a condition to 
sweep the ditches effectively, the ramparts prepared for defence by 
infantry and artillery, and the glacis cleared. The field army 
outside the fortress had in their possession about 25 or 30 farms 
and villages. They secured themselves in these by barricading the 
entrances and provided for eventually placing the outposts in 
security by shelter-trenches and rifle pits. The outlying pickets 
lay for the most part in shelter-trenches covered from the view of 
the enemy outside. Ground that afforded natural or artificial 
cover was arranged for defence, as, for example, the railway em- 
bankment at Montigny on the south of the fortress, and the park 
and chateau of Ladonchamp on the north. Communications were 
stopped up, where necessary, by abattis ; new routes for troops 
were made throvigh the copses, and pontoon bridges as, for 
instance, at Moulins, were thrown across the Moselle to connect 
the two sides of the river. As sorties might have to be made on 
a large scale, the number of communications over the river was 
increased, and for this purpose some bridge-trains, that had oppor- 
tunely come within the limits of the fortress in the general retreat 
of the Army, afforded the means. 

As the hills around the fortress were occupied by the forts, and 
afforded excellent sites from which to observe the Prussian position, 
special observatories were not erected. The highest traverses in 
the works were used for this purpose. 

Lodging of the troops. — While the field army was accommodated 
in camps and in the strongly occupied farms and villages that lay 
around, the barracks were occupied by the war garrison in Metz 
and in the forts in the manner customary in time of war. But 
even with great crowding the total accommodation available in 
them was insufficient, and it was necessary to convert to this use 


the magnificent cathedral of St. Stephan, celebrated for its fine 
stained glass and its tower 350 feet high, and the churches of St. 
Eucaire and St. Segolene. The most important camps were on 
the north-east slope of Mount St. Quentin, south of the fortress 
near Fort Embarcadere and St. Queleu, and north-east of Metz, 
between Forts St. Julieu and Les Bottes. The ground used for 
these camps was, however, hilly, and as it was the wet season, this 
caused the water to accumulate and made swamps of the camping- 
grounds, thus rendering the sleeping-places unhealthy. 

All authorities agree that the fortress was amply provisioned 
for its own war garrison of 30,000 men for three months, and 
received further supplies from a number of provision trains, that 
were originally destined for the French army that marched out 
to the west of Metz, but, after the first battles on the German 
frontier, were stopped on their road and retained in the fortress. 
From Paris, particularly at this time, immense convoys arrived, 
for the fortress was intended to form the base of operations for the 
army on the Ehiue. The position of affairs was changed after the 
battles round Metz, when the fortress was blockaded and all 
communication with the outside was cut off. Tlie great masses of 
cavalry enclosed in the blockade, having a strength of some 24,000 
horses, must have suffered most. Their evil plight first became 
apparent in the early part of September. Subsequently, lean 
horses were driven beyond the outposts, and the slaughter of the 
better ones began about this time. The rations for the men became 
scarcer by degrees^ and by the end of August engagements of the 
outposts took place with the object of obtaining all the provisions 
out of the villages and digging up potatoes in the country round. 
In Nouilly, three-quarters of a mile (3^ miles English) eastward 
from Metz, large stores of provisions intended for the French were 
discovered by the Prussians. The French, it is true, kept up for a 
long time their communication Avith the country, which ended, 
when discovered by the Prussians, in the destruction of the villages 
concerned. Thus the Prussians burnt the village of Peltre, and 
blew up with dynamite a farm there called Le Grrange aux Bois 
because it was evidently useful to the French in their foraging 
expeditions. The beef was generally reserved for the hospitals. 
The water for drinking in Metz had to be filtered after the des- 
truction of the conduit near Gorze, in order to render it at all 
drinkable ; but, on the other hand, the wine was not all gone, and 
there was some left up to the time of the sm'render. 

In the second half of September the soldiers received half 
rations of horseflesh. The want of salt, however, prevented the 
meat from being pickled in the regular manner, and preserved in 
this way it did not answer their expectations because they had 
neglected to slaughter the horses ' at the right time for this pur- 
pose. There was great scarcity of straw for bedding, the supply 
being barely sufficient for the sick and wounded. 

In the beginning of October, for want of forage, the field bat- 
teries were reduced from 6 to 4 guns, and a kind of influenza 
carried off many horses, who fell victims to disease, partly owing 


to the length of time they were in bivouac in very bad weather 
and to want of care, and partly owing to change of diet, as they 
had barley and corn in their food. The rinderpest coming on 
carried off all that were left of the cattle. 

The distress became worse as the investment was prolonged. 
At first 400, then 300 grammes (about three-fifths of a pound) of 
horseflesh and bread were served out to each man as his daily 
ration.* The field army was, in this respect, much worse off than 
tlie garrison of the fortress, of whom none during the investment 
suffered actual hunger. At the end of October, the commandant 
established a system of rations for the inhabitants, and fixed the 
price of provisions for them, and they shared the sufferings of the 
garrison with a praiseworthy spirit and endurance. At this time 
in Metz butter was 14 francs the pound, meat and bacon 8 francs 
the pound, potatoes 20 sous, horseflesh 20 sous, an egg 15 sous, a 
schoppen (pint) of milk 14 sous, and lastly a pound of salt 20 
francs. The fourteen corn mills in Metz remained at work to 
within two days of the capitulation. It may be assumed that 
during the investment nearly 20,000 horses were slaughtered. 

Hospitals. — Owing to the great numbers of sick and wounded, 
which daily increased during the investment, and at the capitula- 
tion amounted to 20,000 men, the energies of the medical branch 
were taxed to the uttermost ; and, particularly, a great want of 
hospital attendants was experienced. The military hospital for 
1,900 sick soon proved insufficient, and, as early as the beginning 
of September, it became necessary also to quarter the sick and 
wounded in the barracks of the engineers, the artillery barracks 
at the Chambieres gate, the civil hospitals, the churches of St. 
Martin, St. Maximin, and St. Vincent, and in many private 
houses. In front of the Palais de Justice, close to the Porte 
Serpenoise, 336 tents were pitched for the sick ; and, on the 
parade near the artillery barracks, there were collected 288 railway 
goods wagons, in which 3,500 sick were lodged. In particular, diar- 
rhoea, dysentery, typhus, and scurvy made their appearance, the last 
in consequence of not having salt, and owing to the want of variety 
in the diet ; but, it should be observed that the dreaded and dan- 
gerous miasma from the neighbouring battle-fields and the num- 
bers of unburied carcases of horses turned out to have less effect 
on health than was naturally anticiiDated ; a blessing for which 
apparently thanks were due to the cold weather in September and 
October. The result in this respect was different witli regard to 
the stagnant inundations of the Seylle on the south of the town. 
As early as the first half of September, Marshal Bazaiue requested 
Prince Frederick Charles to allow the sick and wounded in Metz 
to be sent away to the interior of France, which request was 
naturally refused. A similar reply was given to his request at the 
beginning of September that surgeons with medical appliances 
might be sent into ]Metz. The inhabitants of Metz eudeavom-ed 
to alleviate the sufferings of the French sick and womided soldiers 

*■ 400 grammes = about 14 oz. or f lb. avoirdupois ; 300 grammes = about 
10^ oz, or I lb. avoirdupois, 


with all their power, and the troops had to thank the wives and 
daughters of the inhabitants that it was found possible to distri- 
bute large stores of winter clothing to the army. 

Ititelllf/ence department. — Owing to the large military traffic 
by rail to and from the theatre of war, the postal service during 
the first half of August got into the greatest confusion, and with 
the commencement of the investment all communication of the 
French army with Paris, the neighbouring P'rench fortresses and 
the adjoining country, was cut off. Nevertheless various expe- 
dients were adopted to keep up the communication with the 
government in Paris and with the military headquarters of 
France. Carrier-pigeons and spies were made use of. One of the 
latter, disguised as a Franciscan monk, fell into the hands of the 
1st Prussian army on the 4th August, and with him a correspon- 
dence between jNIarshals Bazaine, Palikao, Trochu, and MacMahon. 
The French tried to send news on wood-floats, and concealed in 
pigs' bladders, down the Moselle toThionville. Many gas-balloons 
were sent up, of which one came into the hands of the Prussians 
in the neighbourhood of Paoully, 2 miles (9^ English miles) 
north-east of Metz. By this means, however, no serviceable 
intelligence of a trustworthy character was obtained of the French 
army. Generally, this post was sent up at night, so as the better 
and more securely to cross the investing lines of the Prussians. 

The works of fortification of the blockading army had for their 
object to prevent surprise by an advance of the enemy in force, 
and to detain them long enough to permit of the troops being- 
concentrated in sufficient numbers. The French had the advan- 
tage that they could choose what point they liked in the circle of 
investment, and there make a sortie. The Prussians, on the other 
hand, besides being fewer in number, were at a disadvantage in 
having to be ready to receive an attack from the French through- 
out the whole circle of the investment. It became necessary, 
therefore, that the Prussians should be able to concentrate on any 
point in the shortest possible time. For this purpose bridges 
were thrown over the Moselle above and below the fortress, for 
instance, at Argency, Hauconcourt, and several other places ; roads 
for troops were traced or cut, and all the special arrangements 
suitable for the attainment of this object were made. After the 
battles of the 16th and 18th August, notwithstanding that move- 
ments to the rear had again become necessary in some cases, the 
complete investment of the positions held by the enemy was ac- 
complished ]-apidly and with the accustomed precision. The head- 
quarters of the army corps were placed in communication with one 
another, and with the headquarters of the army by means of lines 
of field telegraph, and the technical troops charged with this duty 
had thus a very wide field of activity, and one that was intimately 
associated with the military operations. The existing French 
telegraph lines and railways leading to Thionville and Paris and 
to Strasburg were destroyed, and their materials were used for the 
purposes of the investment. The intercourse with the fortress by 
means of a flag of truce was reduced to a minimum after the 


French, contrary to every custom of war, had fired upon some of 
the bearers. This happened on the 19th August to Lieutenant- 
Colonel von Verdy and Captain von Winterfeld, on the 24th 
August to First Lieutenant von Kurowsky, and on the 1 st October 
to Lieutenants von Roder and Manegold. 

Observatories were set up on the highest points of the ground, 
and two artillery officers provided with good telescopes did duty in 
each. Each army corps had its own ; such was, for instance, that 
on the hill of Le Horimont, south of the village of Feves, If 
miles (8*2 miles English) north-west of Metz, whence a complete 
view was obtained over the broad plain of the valley to the north 
of the fortress and the French bivouacs there, and which was of 
eminent service. 

As it was expected that the blockaded army of the French in- 
tended to break out in a northerly direction towards Thionville, 
the main point was to watch the fortress, and therefore its invest- 
ment was completed before any idea was entertained of following^ 
up this operation immediately with a bombardment. 

As long as the French held Metz, the railway communication 
by the lines Saarbruck to Metz and Nancy on the one hand, and Metz 
to Thionville on the other, was interrupted. The construction was, 
therefore, commenced of a railway from Eemilly to Pont-a- 
Mousson, so as to work round the railway junction at Metz. 
Accordingly on the 9th August Captain Oolz of the general staff 
received orders, in conjunction with field railway detachments No. 
1, under Commissioner Dircksen, and No. 4, under Superintending 
Engineer Menne, to restore the communication with Saarbruck 
out of the partly destroyed line from Saarbruck to Eemilly, and 
next to construct a new railroad passing to the south of Metz from 
Eemilly to Pont-a-Mousson. The first portion of this order 
being executed by the 13th August, the preparations for, and the 
setting out of the new junction line, about 5 miles (23^ miles 
English) in length, were commenced on the 14th. The actual 
completion of the united lines took place on the 23rd Sep- 
tember, or in round numbers after 5 weeks' work. The road was 
a single line with a formation-width of 12 feet. Among the larger 
works were two viaducts near Eemilly, of which the largest was 
about 350 feet long and 22 feet high, besides two bridges over the 
Moselle and its affluent the Seylle. All these works were made 
of timber. 

Immediately after the battle of Gravelotte, on the 18th August, 
the positions of the outposts on either side were not finally 
determined. Backward and forward movements of the opposing 
forces took place. On the night of the 19th-20th August the 
French for the first time took up in force the positions which they 
held, with few exceptions apparently unaltered, during the whole 
of the investment. The length of the circumference occupied by 
the Prussian outposts was nearly 6 miles (28 English miles), and 
that occupied by the main body, consequently, 8 miles (37^ 
English miles). Without telegraphic communication the success 
of a sudden attempt of the French in force to break through would 


not have been improbable under the circumstances above men- 

The troops were at first quartered in open bivouacs and in huts 
of brushwood ; but, by the middle of September, they were, as far as 
practicable, lodged in conveniently situated close cantonments. 
For the outposts and pickets weather-screens and huts of brush- 
wood and other materials were erected, and houses and stables 
conveniently situated were also made use of; but, in spite of all, the 
troops suffered terribly from the inclemency of the weather. As 
Grorze lay within the lines of investment, the waterworks there 
could not remain unnoticed or concealed. By the end of August 
they were destroyed. 

The arrangements for defence which were undertaken on the 
part of the besiegers consisted in the formation of the gTound in 
various ways so as to adapt it to the tactical conditions mentioned 
in the beginning of this section. The limits of this book would 
be far exceeded if we were to enter upon the details. Some 
general observations will suffice. 

Outposts and pickets lay in shelter-trenches, or in hollows in 
the ground provided with banquettes for this purpose, according 
as hollow roads, gravel-pits, loam-pits, or the ditches of high 
roads presented themselves. By a singular accident, the shelter- 
trenches which were constructed by the enemy, on their retreat 
during the battle of Grravelotte towards evening on the 18th 
August, were used for a long time by the Prussian outposts. The 
French are very ready at making such trenches in a short time. 
A similar thing happened with regard to a battery between St. 
Privat and Amanvillers, which on the same day had been of great 
service to the French, but was now turned towards the fortress. 
In front of all was formed a sort of line of obstructions. 

The Prussian outposts were partly armed with chassepot rifles, 
on account of their great range. Eoutes for columns of troops 
were made where necessary, roads were improved, and the edges of 
woods were obstructed by abattis and rendered impassable. Farms 
situated in important places, especially those from which fire could 
be directed on the roads by which the enemy would advance, as at 
Orly, Tournebide, Frescati — both the latter on the south of the 
fortress — were prepared for defence ; that is to say, loopholes were 
cut in the masonry, the entrances were barricaded, and they were 
made secure with palisades. Favourable situations for artillery 
were made use of for the erection of the larger batteries, or were 
prepared by excavation for the reception of the guns, as it was 
confidently anticipated that their practice would be fatal to the 
enemy's operations, especially by checking the advance of his 
attacking columns. Such batteries were situated, among other 
places, on the heights at Chieulles, Vany, Failly, and Servigny, to 
the north-east of the fortress, where, in spite of the ground being 
much broken, a good and wide view of the scene of action was 
obtained, and also at Saulny, Nocroy, Bellevue, Feves, Semecourt, 
and elsewhere. All the defiles which could be possibly used by 
the French for breaking out were, in the course of time, fortified 


as formidably as circumstances permitted ; and, in places where the 
enemy was actually expected to appear, the besiegers had, more- 
over, taken the trouble to construct independent field redoubts in 
the line of defence. 

The continuance of bad weather and the extremely arduous 
duty of the investing force had undoubtedly at times a bad effect 
on their state of health. Diarrhoea and typhus carried off some 
victims, but these diseases would have had very far more serious 
results and a wider range had it not been that every possible care 
was bestowed upon the hospital-establishments and upon the 
nursing and subsistence. In the latter respect there was no 
failure, and the continual supplies and issues of pease-sausage,* of 
fresh and of preserved meat, produced the best effects. A difficulty 
seemed likely to occur in the supply of meat when the rinderpest 
broke out in Lorraine and Alsace, but mutton was issued instead 
of beef, and steps were taken to bring up herds of cattle from 
Belgium and Holland for the supply of the troops. 

Sorties. — Having described the position of the opposing 
armies in and before the fortress in their chief features, we turn 
now to the most important sorties on a large scale which took 
place from the 19th August to the 28tli October. 

The idea of a regular siege of the great fortress was, with ac- 
curate knowledge of the circumstances, renounced from the very 
first. The large forces shut in, both in and round the fortress, 
would have rendered it unusually difficult to establish parks, and 
conduct the attacks against the detached forts, which were well 
situated and amply supplied with guns and stores, and these forces 
might, in the end, have produced a very critical state of affairs. 
It was determined, therefore, only to invest Metz, and for this 
duty there were allotted the 1st, Ilnd, Ilird, Vllth, Vlllth, and 
Xth army corps, the 18th division, the division of the Grand- 
Duchy of Hesse, and the landwehr reserve division von Kummer. 
The 1st army was thus amalgamated with the Ilnd army, and 
placed under the sole command of Prince Frederick Charles. This 
army, amounting to about 230,000 men, being thus detained, 
however, it became impossible to employ them even partially in 
operations in the open field elsewhere. 

Under these circumstances, after their terrible exertions in the 
battles of Mars-la-Tour and Grravelotte, both friend and foe re- 
quired some days of rest, in order that they might both settle 
themselves down to the new condition of affairs. Towards the end 
of the month, however, on the 26th August, movements of troops 
were observed in the French camps, from the left to the right 
bank of the Moselle, which might be preparatory to an attempt to 
break through the Prussian lines. The enemy confined himself, 
however, to skirmishing with the outposts, as he found the Prus- 
sians ready to fight. Meanwhile, news was received of the advance 
of MacMahon's army from Chalons and its encounter with the 
IVth army at Beaumont. In the investing lines, therefore, pre- 

• Erbswurst. 


parations were made for the expected junction of Marshals JMac- 
Mahon and Bazaine. 

Then came, on the 31st August and the 1st September, the 
hattle of Noisseville. The Prussian troops engaged were posted on 
the 30th August as follows : — 

1. The 1st landwehr division von Kummer, with a brigade of 
the line, behind the line Malroy-Charly, the landwehr in reserve. 

2. The 1st infantry division — the 1st brigade of infantry in 
and behind the line Failly-Servigny, the 2nd brigade of infantry 
in reserve. 

3. The 2nd infantry division — the 4tli brigade of infantry 
at Ars-Laquenexy with their front on the line Mercy-le-Haut- 
Aubigny-Colombey, the 3rd brigade of infantry in reserve. 

4. The divisional cavalry — the 1st and 10th regiments of 
dragoons between Noisseville and Colombey. 

5. The 3rd cavalry division and the 28th brigade of in- 
fantry guarding the ground between the 2nd infantry division 
and the Moselle. 

On the 31st August, at half-past 7 in the morning, the French 
had taken up a position south of Fort St. Julien on the line Metz- 
Bellecroix. The following movements consequently took place. 

1. The 3rd brigade of infantry of the 2nd division, with two 
batteries, marched to the high road to Saarbruck on the heights of 

2. The 1st brigade of cavalry of the 3rd cavalry division 
marched to Eetonfay to cover the ground between the high roads 
to Saarbruck and Saarlouis. By command of General Steinmetz 
the whole of the cavalry division was moved to that place. 

3. A cavalry regiment and a battery of the Kummer division 
marched to St. Barbe. The division of the Grrand-Duchy of Hesse 
crossed the Moselle to the support of the Kummer division. The 
centre stood fast, while the wings alone were at first engaged. 

About 9 o'clock the French attacked the Prussian left wing ; 
Colombey was lost to us, but Aubigny and Mercy-le-Haut were held. 
The 28th brigade of infantry was brought on the battle-field, as a 
reinforcement, and took up a .position at Laquenexy without com- 
ing into the action, which was fought by the 2nd division alone. 
The former marched to the bivouac at Courcelles. 

The Prussian right wing was attacked by a French cavalry 
regiment, with artillery, who were, however, beaten back by the 
artillery of General von Kummer. Fort St. Julien opened fire 
and covered the retreat of the enemy. At 3 o'clock in the after- 
noon the enemy commenced a heavy fire from Fort St. Julien, and 
from several batteries that were drawn up there to the southward, 
and were answered from seven Prussian field-batteries, in whose 
favour the engagement was decided about 5 o'clock. 

Meantime Leboeuf's whole corps advanced by Nouilly to Noisse- 
ville ; the 3rd brigade of infantry retired from the field after a 
severe engagement round the village and the brewery there, and 
fell back in good order on Servigny. Batteries of the enemy 
debouched towards evening from Nouilly and fired on the Prussian 


artillery at Servigny. Noisseville was finally taken by Memerty's 
brigade, the whole position was held, and the fight terminated 
apparently about 9 o'clock. Unexpectedly, however, the enemy 
recommenced the action, took possession of Flanville, Coincy, and 
Noisseville, and captured a portion of Retonfay, which nevertheless 
they had to give up again. At the same time attacks were made 
upon Servigny, Poixe, and Failly. The battle did not cease till 
11 o'clock in the evening. In expectation of its renewal on the 
following day, the infantry and cavalry brigade of the Grrand- 
Duchy of Hesse and the corps artillery of the 9th army corps 
were directed during the night to cross the Moselle to the scene 
of action at St. Barbe. Accordingly, on the following morning, 
the positions were as follows : Rummer's landwehr division and 
the 1st army corps on the field of battle during the whole night ; 
the 25th and 28th divisions at Antilly and advancing on Charly ; 
the Ilird and Vlllth army corps, as on the previous day ; the 
Ilnd, Ilird, and Xth army corps on the left bank of the Moselle, 
near Montmedy, only li mile (7 English miles) from Metz. 

On the 1st September, at 4 in the morning, the battle was 
renewed, and turned first upon the possession of the thrice-captured 
Noisseville. It was not possible, however, in spite of the great 
bravery of the troops, to keep our hold of it, so that we contented 
ourselves for the time with preventing the enemy from debouching 
from it. As soon as it was ascertained that strong reinforcements 
were about to arrive, a heavy fire of artillery was commenced from 
50 guns against the place and Noisseville was taken. 

On the left wing the village of Flanville was captured about 
9 o'clock in the morning by the 28th brigade of infantry, parti- 
cularly by detachments of the 53rd regiment. The 28th infantry 
brigade thereupon took Coincy, and were subsequently emi^loyed 
to cover the Saarbruck road. 

At the same time unsuccessful attempts were made by the 
French on the right wing to take Failly and Rupigny. They 
were beaten back and pursued as far as the Bois de Grimont by 
the brigades of Below and Blankensee. 

In the centre the French advanced about half-past 10 to the 
attack of Poixe and Servigny, but their movements appeared hesi- 
tating and wanting in vigour. The Prussian artillery beat them 
back at both places. This failure was the signal for the French 
to retire into their original positions, while oiu-s were held, though 
with great losses. These amounted altogether to 151 officers and 
2,848 men. The French lost 141 officers and 2,664 men. 

On the 2nd September the Xlllth army corps arrived before 
Metz, and in consequence the German army was distributed for 
the investment as follows : Kummer's landwehr division on the 
line Malroy-Charly ; to its left, the 1st army corps as far as the 
Saarbruck road ; and then came the Xlllth corps as far as Poully. 
The Vllth corps was placed on the south of Metz on both sides of 
the Moselle, covering also the passages over the Seylle. On the 
left bank were the Vlllth corps from Jussy to Chatel, the Ilird 
corps from Chatel to Saulny, the Xth corps from Saulny to Marange. 

36906. G 


In reserve, on the natural line of communication of the enemy 
with the interior of France, was the IXth corps extended on the 
line from Eoncourt to Pierrevilliers. 

The battle of Noisseville was the last great attempt made by 
Marshal Bazaine to break through the investing army, and was 
followed by three weeks of apparent rest. The next engagements 
brought on by the French were for the purpose of covering their 
foraging expeditions in search of hay, straw, and provisions, espe- 
cially potatoes, a sure preventive of scurvy, which appeared in the 
fortress owing to the want of salt. Eventually the French used 
generally to advance with strong columns against our outposts, 
who thereupon fell back upon the positions previously fortified. 
If such an attack succeeded, they retired with their booty under 
cover of the forts, and the Prussian outposts in the evening were 
back again in their old positions. In this way villages and farms 
were burnt and much damage of other kinds was done. Such was 
the character of the engagements at Peltre on the 22ud and 23rd 
September, and at Mercy-le-Haut on the 27 th September. Per- 
haps also in these engagements the French had some idea of 
making an attempt to break through in the direction of Strasburg. 
The Vllth and 1st army corps were engaged in both the first- 
mentioned fights, which did not assume large proportions. Of a 
more serious character, however, was the fight on the 27th Sep- 
tember, which was at first directed against these same troops, but 
subsequently also against detachments of the Xth corps at La 
Maxe on the left bank of the Moselle. On this occasion the 
French troops were brought immediately on to the battle-field by 
the railway, which had been reconstructed within the line of their 
outposts. These battles had no particular consequences, although 
the loss was considerable on both sides. 

After the fall of Strasburg Marshal Bazaine seemed to have 
an idea of breaking through to the northward, in the first instance 
to Thionville, in order to occupy that place or to pass over with 
his army to neutral territory. Consequently, the distribution of 
the investing force had to be altered. For the execution of his 
plan Marshal Bazaine chose the moment when Rummer's land- 
wehr division came on to the line of outposts in the place of the 
Xth army corps. The most advanced outposts consisted of two 
landwehr battalions in patches of wood north of the Bois de 
Woippy, and pushed forward to Bellevue, St. Eemy, Les Petites 
and Les Grrandes Tapes, with pickets at St. Agathe and Ladon- 

On the night of the 2nd October the enemy attacked, threw 
the outposts above mentioned back upon the pickets at St. Eemy, 
which they assailed in vain, and of which the garrison, consisting of 
two companies of the Neutomischl landwehr battalion, was at once 
reinforced by two companies of the Kosten landwehr battalion. 

About 5 o'clock the enemy made a fruitless attack on St. 
Hemy, whose garrison had been meanwhile strengthened by four 
more companies, and also on Bellevue, which was defended by 
the Freistadt landwehr battalion. The six companies of the last- 


named battalion retook St. Agatbe, two Prussian batteries fired 
on Ladonchamps from Semecourt, and from 9 o'clock A.M. a 
tbird Prussian battery wbicli bad taken up a jDosition at Les 
Tapes, joined in tbe cannonade. Upon tbese was directed tbe 
concentrated fire of several Frencb batteries placed at St. Eloy, 
and tbey bad in consequence to retire. \Miilst tbe landwehr 
division beld tbeir ground against a vastly superior enemy, tbe 
artillery fire on botb sides was kept up until tbe evening, and by it 
St. Eemy and Franclocbamps were set in flames. 

On tbe 7tb October tbe Frencb made a second attack on tbe 
field of battle, on wbicb tbey bad already learnt by experience 
tbe bravery of Rummer's landwebr division, and an engage- 
ment lasting nine bours took place at Woippy. At 1 o'clock in 
tbe afternoon our outposts of Kummer's landwebr division were 
attacked at Bellevue and St. Eemy, as well as at Les Petites and 
Les Grande Tapes, by Frencb columns greatly superior in numbers, 
about 30,000 or 40,000 men, and after a brave resistance beat 
tbem back. Tbe Prussian landwebr fougbt bere witb tbe greatest 
obstinacy, tbe most stubborn endurance, and tbe most brilliant 
courage, so tbat tbe enemy was unable to gain ground. Simul- 
taneously witb tbe commencement of tbis attack on tbe left bank 
of tbe Moselle, tbe Frencb made a demonstration on tbe rigbt 
bank, against tbe position of tbe 1st army corps at Servigny and 
Noisseville, and against tbe Xtb army corps at Malroy and Cbar- 
loy. Tbe figbt bere was only witb artillery and musketry, wbicb 
tbe Frencb tbougbt sufficient to prevent tbese troops from crossing 
tbe Moselle. In spite of tbis, Wedell's brigade of tbe Xtb corps, 
tbe 16tb and 57tb regiments, crossed tbe Moselle at Argency. 
Here tbey formed to attack on tbe flank of tbe left wing of Kum- 
mer's division, wbile at tbe same time, on tbe rigbt wing, Conta's 
brigade of tbe 48tb and 4tb regiments of infantry advanced and 
occupied tbe Bois de Woippy and a farm close by. Tbe Frencb 
being vigorously attacked botb in front and on tbeir left wing, 
bad to give up again tbe positions tbey bad taken earlier in tbe 
day, and to fall back upon tbe fortress, wbilst tbe Prussians re- 
mained masters of tbe same ground as at tbe beginning of tbe 
figbt. Tbey took Bellevue, St. Remy, and tbe two Tapes by 
storm. On tbe otber band tbey failed in an attempt made late in 
tbe evening to take tbe Cbateau Ladoncbamps, wbicb was strongly 
occupied by tbe Frencb and fortified. Tbe loss on tbe Prussian 
side amounted to 65 officers and 1,665 men. 

Capitulation. — Marsbal Bazaine, after tbe failure of all bis 
sorties, could not but be aware tbat furtber enterprises of tbe same 
description would only be attended by similar results. His bonour 
as a soldier was saved, and bis duty to bis country was done, in 
detaining 230,000 men before Metz. But if be bad succeeded in 
breaking out — if tbe Marsbal bad marcbed towards Paris, be 
would but liave come between two fires ; and as regarded any otber 
objects of bis marcb, witbout cavalry or borses for transport, witb 
bis guns wretcbedly borsed, witb no safe communication to tbe 
rear, witbout tbe means of supporting bis army, be would bave 

G 2 


"been exposed to the most harassing pursuit. The consideration of 
these circumstances clears the Marshal of blame, considering the 
question from a military point of view, and the more so, as 
although cut off from all communication hy either land, water, or 
telegraph, he had held out in a place, which, having been origi- 
nally provisioned for 15,000 or 20,000 men for three months, had 
already maintained eight times that number of troops for nine weeks. 
Whether the Marshal had any ulterior political reason for his con- 
duct, we know just as little as we know the motive of the myste- 
rious journey of Greneral Bourbaki from Metz to the Empress 
Eugenie. In no way liad the capitulation been of use to M. Gam- 
betta, whose plan was to raise the siege of Paris by armies newly 
formed in the North and South. This plan was frustrated now 
that the 1st and Ilnd Prussian armies before Metz had become 

The time for negotiations for a surrender had come, and to 
delay was to starve. Marshal Bazaine wished to surrender him- 
self and the army, but to keep the fortress for France. On the 
side of the Prussians, however, this could not be agreed to, be- 
cause the place, if excluded from the capitulation, was in a condi- 
tion to hold out for many months. Nothing came, therefore, of 
the negotiations to this effect, which General Boyer was engaged 
in from the 13th to the 15th October, at the German head- 
quarters at Versailles. 

On the 21st October General CoflSnieres, the commandant of 
the fortress, informed General Bazaine that he had no more pro- 
visions for the troops quartered outside the fortress. In conse- 
quence of this, desertions were tacitly allowed, but the deserters 
were turned back by the Prussian outposts in great numbers. It 
was also thought that the Prussians might be compelled to take 
the army prisoners, by bringing on a battle with this intention. 
At last they thought to sally out by Gravelotte, on the night of 
the 24th-25th October, but this plan was not executed. 

On the 25th October, General Changarnier entered upon fresh 
negotiations with Prince Frederick Cliarles. The terms of the 
capitulation of Sedan were taken as a basis, and the officers who 
chose imprisonment were permitted to carry their arms away 
^^dth them. 

On the morning of the 27th October the fortress fell into our 
hands, perfectly uninjured, together with its military establish- 
ments, with its 3 marshals, 50 generals, 6,000 officers, 173,000 
men, 53 eagles, 300,000 stand of arms, 66 mitrailleurs, 541 field 
guns, 800 garrison guns, the stores of 85 field batteries, and 2,000 
military vehicles. On the same day the Crown Prince and Prince 
Frederick Charles were made Field Marshals. Thanks are due 
also, however, to the brave investing army, who for ten weeks bore 
all the hardships with a stedfast endurance peculiarly their own ; 
who, by steady vigilance and unequalled courage, brought about 
a result without example in military history, and had compelled 
the army of the enemy to lay down their arms in Metz, which had 
been called by them with proud confidence an impregnable fortress. 


Already, eight days before the capitulation, railway wagons, 
with provisions for the garrison and inhabitants of Metz, were 
standing in the railway station of Courcelles. 

On the day of the capitulation an artillery and an engineer 
officer from each Prussian army corps, with non-commissioned 
officers, were told off, in the first instance, to take over the 
powder magazines and destroy any mines that might exist. Next 
the forts were occupied, each by two battalions of infantry, a 
company of garrison artillery, and a detachment of pioneers 
(engineers) ; then the gates of the town, and finally the town 
itself, were taken possession of. Steps were immediately taken 
for restoring the 10 kilometres (6 English miles) of railway from 
Metz to Courcelles, and the very first train that ran into Metz 
brought, to the great delight of the inhabitants, 1,000 sheep into 
the fortress. At the same time German forethought was brought 
into action for the benefit of the tow^n and fortress, by the imme- 
diate appointment of an extraordinary sanitary commission to pre- 
vent the seeds of epidemic disease from being sown. It is to be 
hoped that they may also succeed, by suitable measm-es and ar- 
rangements with regard to the inhabitants, both as citizens and 
as Christians, in bringing universal contentment to the hearts 
of this originally German population. 



(plate XII.) 

Verdun, a fortress of the first class, with 12,000 inhabitants, lies 
deep in the Meuse valley, on both sides of the river. On the 
north and east the town is enclosed by heights, within gunshot, 
which fall with steep slopes towards the right bank of the river. 
The low ground lies chiefly on the left bank, and is severed in two 
parts by a ridge which extends as far as the town, affording 
an extensive view over it to the north and south. The 
latter was in part placed under water. This range in a westerly 
direction, as well as the bare unprotected hills on the right bank 
of the Meuse, afford favourable positions for artillery. The stream, 
which during a great part of the year is very shallow, flows 
through the town in two branches, and is on this account crossed 
by many bridges. 

The fortifications are perfectly simple : on the north and south 
are bastioned fronts ; the enceinte on the east is of a similar 
trace, and on the west is the citadel, commanding all around it, 
and connected with the fortifications of the town by lines con- 
structed for the purpose. Between the town and citadel is the 
esplanade, which stands high and affords a view over the town. 
Excepting several ravelins, there are no outworks. The ditches are 
partly wet, but revetted with masonry, and all the profiles are sach 
that the place must be considered secure from assault. The kernel 
of the defence is the formidable citadel. It was entirely rebuilt by 
Marshal Vauban, and has now four bastioned fronts, each of which 
is strengthened by having a ravelin in front of it ; the fifth front, 
turned towards the valley of the Meuse, is of considerable lengtb. 
The long curtain has, therefore, been broken in the middle in 
order to obtain better flanking defence of the ditches in front of the 
bastions. The fire from this curtain sweeps the southern front of 
the town and some of the bridges over the Meuse. This front 
has no ravelin to cover the curtain. It is in fact built on the 
steep slope down to the Meuse. The citadel has a gate leading 
to the country, and one to the town. The fortifications of the 
town have three entrances, giving passage to the high roads from 
Metz, Etain, and Bar-le-duc. They are under the fire of the 
guns of the fortress. The ground round the fortress is generally 
clear for a distance of 2,000 paces, with the exception of some 
villages, the suburb of Pave between the roads leading to Etain 
and to Metz, and some farms which played a part in the siege 
and, as we may as well state here, were used to very good effect 

Plate XIL 


by the garrison to command the ground in front, and to facilitate 
their sorties. The country lying to the westward of the citadel, 
in our opinion the only side on which Verdun is open to attack, 
is covered with many vineyards. There are no detached works 
round the fortress, nor is there sufficient bombproof cover for a 
garrison of the war strength. 

The occupation of Verdun was important for the armies before 
Paris, and for the forces operating in the West of France, because 
the fortress bars the direct line of railway from the "Middle 
Rhine " or Metz by Chalons to Paris. This railway was still in 
course of construction when war was declared in July 1870, and 
only passable for a short distance. 

Thus Verdun was at that time merely a terminus. The com- 
pletion of the line of railway from Verdun to Metz, even if but 
temporary, would have afforded great facilities to the German 
army before Paris for the transport of ammunition, provisions, 
and reserve troops, as well as for sending the sick and wounded to 
the rear. Verdun is also, however, regarded as a " barrier " on 
the road from the Middle Ehine through the Argonnes, the pass of 
Les Grandes Islettes, to Chalons and Paris. 

The franc-tireurs, who were very active in that neighbourhood, 
found the fortress a point d'appui, which they gladly used ; and 
the very obstinate resistance they made to those of our troops op- 
posed to them is explained by the fact, that they hoped up to the 
last moment that Marshal Bazaine would break out and relieve 
the garrison. 

Immediately after the battles round Metz, which were so fruit- 
ful in residts for the German arms, the Xllth Saxon army 
corps was moved from the battle-fields there, by the roads Etain- 
Verdun or Fresnes-Verdun towards Paris, and accordingly arrived 
in front of the place on the 24th August. An attempt was made 
to gain the place by a sudden attack. The field batteries with 
the army corps took up a position for this purpose on the heights 
between Verdun and Belrupt, east of the fortress, and shelled 
the place from 11 o'clock in the morning. Under cover of this 
fire, the 108th Saxon sharpshooters, with great bravery and 
under a heavy fire of the enemy, stormed the suburb of Pave, 
which lies immediately in front of the glacis, on both sides of 
the road leading to Etain. First-Lieutenant von Schimpf was 
sent into the fortress with a flag of truce, but returned without 
having produced any effect. His trumpeter was shot on this oc- 
casion. General Marmier, commandant for the time being, replied 
that he would rather be buried under the ruins of the fortress 
than surrender it. As further proceedings against the fortress 
were impracticable, and the advance on Paris could not be de- 
layed, the army corps at once continued its march, and crossed the 
Meuse, both above and below the fortress, the same day, leaving 
the 47th infantry brigade behind to observe the place. 

The action had sho-svu that the fortress was secure from assault, 
defensible, sufficiently garrisoned, and fully armed with heavy 
garrison guns. 


A provision or ammunition train, under the impression that 
the place was ah-eady in our hands, went straight into the fortress 
and fell into the possession of the garrison. The same thing 
happened to a field post coming from Sedan. 

On the 7th September the above-mentioned detachment was 
relieved by a stronger one under the command of Ijieutenant- 
Greneral Bothmer. Tlie latter consisted of the 65th regiment 
(otli Ehenish), the 4th (Schleswig) reserve hussars, the 9t]i ulan 
regiment (2nd Pomeranian), and two horse artillery guns, with a 
heavy reserve battery of the Vllth army corps. Of these the 
ulan regiment and the subdivision of horse artillery were told off 
for the left bank of the Meuse, but soon recalled, while the rest of 
the detachment undertook the investment of the fortress on the 
right bank of tlie Meuse. Of this force, moreover, the 1st battalion 
of the 65th regiment was ordered off to guard the communications 
between Sedan and IMontmedy ; so that under these circumstances 
the investment of the fortress was but very incomplete. Mean- 
while, artillery materiel was brought up from Toul and Sedan. 
JVs the place was not completely invested, it was impossible to 
prevent the garrison from receiving considerable additions from 
stragglers and escaped prisoners, and from being well informed as 
to what took place outside the fortress. 

On the 15th September a slight engagement took place at 
Maxeville. A foraging expedition, consisting of the 7th company 
of the 65th regiment and a subdivision of hussars, were attacked 
by four French companies and a squadron of Chasseurs d'Afrique. 
The things that had been requisitioned were brought off in safety, 
but the infantry lost 8 killed and 15 wounded. 

September 18. — The same company had another collision with 
three French companies that had advanced at daybreak against 
Belleville. They were repulsed by the Prussians, Avho lost 8 men 
killed and wounded. The artillery of the garrison took part in the 
action toAvards its close with some effect. 

On the 23rd September four Ehenish landwehr battalions 
(Aix-la-Chapelle, Jiilich, Simmern, and Andernach), a reserve ulan 
regiment, and a heavy battery of the 8th brigade of artillery 
joined the investing force. In consequence of this reinforcement 
the fortress was more closely invested, especially on the left bank of 
the Meuse. On the promotion of Lieutenant-General von Bothmer 
to the command of the 13th division, Major-Gfeneral von Oayl, 
commanding the 2nd infantry brigade, took over the command 
of the besieging force. His headquarters were situated in the 
village of Charny on the Meuse. 

On the 24th September the 10th company of the 65th 
regiment was attacked at Charny by French infantry in superior 
numbers and a squadron of chassem's, who were, however, 
driven back into the fortress with the help of a reinforcement 
brought up in haste from Bras. The loss on our side amounted 
to four men. 

On the 25th September the two batteries present with the 
investing force shelled the south side of tlie fortifications of the 


town and the citadel with about 200 shells, and this fire was 
answered briskly from the fortress. A sortie was repulsed. 

In the night of the 25th-26th September some emplacements 
were made, near Belrupt and elsewhere ; but the work was very 
difficult, on account of the rocky nature of the soil. 

On the 2nd October several f'rench companies and a squadron 
of chasseurs attacked the 6th company of the 65th regiment, but 
were once more beaten back into the fortress after a hard fight. 

Owing to the comparatively small numbers of the investing 
force it was not possible to drive the very energetic and active 
enemy altogether into the fortress from his positions outside. 
He remained in possession among other places of the villages of 
Thierville and Regret on the west of the fortress, both of them 
commanded from the citadel. 

On the 2nd and 3rd October, therefore, a heavy cannonade 
was opened upon these places by the reserve battery of the 8th 
brigade of artillery, as unceasing alarms were given, and small 
skirmishes took place along the whole line of the investment. By 
their possession of several positions within these, but still outside 
the fortress, the French were able to bring on these engagements 
and carry them through successfully ; so that it became absolutely 
necessary to take possession of the outer lines of the French 
position. Accordingly the attack on Thierville was forthwith 
ordered, and on the 11th October the duty was assigned to the 
1st battalion of the 65th (Rhenish) regiment, which had re- 
turned to Verdun the previous day from its detached duty of 
guarding the communications to Sedan. The village was occupied 
by three companies of gardes mobiles. The battalion named 
advanced in three columns, threw themselves with a shout on 
the pickets, and upon the approach to the village, and after a 
few short struggles in one or two places, drove the garrison out of 
the village. After the battalion had secured themselves there 
with field-works, barricades, and shelter-trenches, and the 4th 
company had taken up a position on the Weinberg, south-west of 
the village, the enemy came out of Verdun by Jardin Fontaine 
and endeavoured to recapture the village. This attempt was re- 
pulsed after a short struggle. The 1st battalion of the 65th regi- 
ment lost two killed and one wounded in the taking of Thierville. 

During the 12th October a great number of French stragglers 
were captured in and round Thierville. These men were unable 
to reach the fortress, where they hoped to be well received. On 
the evening of this day the 3rd and 4th companies of the 65th 
regiment, under the command of Captain ]Michaelis, received 
orders to take possession of the suburb of Jardin Fontaine, 
which lies close in front of the glacis of the fortress. Whilst the 
2nd and fusilier battalions at the same time occupied some other 
places within short range of the fortress, such as Regret, Belle- 
ville, Grlorieux, the farmhouses of St. Barthelemy and Constantino 
on the right bank of the Mouse, a heavy and continuous mus- 
ketry and artillery engagement took place at Jardin Fontaine, in 
which the defenders were powerfidly supported by the fire of the 


artillery, musketry, and mitrailleurs of the citadel. After a 
nocturnal engagement of 1^ hour's duration they succeeded, how- 
ever, in establishing themselves in the village and barricading it. 
Thanks to the darkness and the bad shooting of the French, the 
loss of the two companies of the 65th regiment employed in 
the attack amounted only to 1 killed and about 20 wounded. It 
was not till after these engagements that the fortress could properly 
be said to be bombarded. The cannonade was now to commence 
from two sides, and the following batteries had to be built : 

1. To the north of Verdun, en the heights of Belleville, six 
batteries, which, beginning on the left, were armed with 

6 Prussian rifled 6-poimders 
6 French rifled 12-pounders. 
4 22-centimetre howitzers. 
4 French rifled 24-pounders. 
4 French rifled 24-pounders. 
6 French rifled 12-pounders. 

2. On the west of Verdun, on the left bank of the Meuse, on 
the heights of Thierville, five batteries armed with 

6 French rifled 12-pounders. 
6 French rifled 12-pounders. 
6 French rifled 24-pounders. 
6 Prusssian rifled 6-pounders. 
4 French heavy mortars. 

The construction of the batteries took place on the night of 
12th- 13th October under unusually difiicult circumstances. The 
weather was wet and stormy, so that the enemy did not discover 
the works. The time had been too short for the preparation of 
all the battery materials that were required. For the heavy guns 
there were only improvised platforms, for the lighter ones there 
were no platforms at all. There was a want of entrenching tools, 
and the stiff, and in part rocky ground, had generally first 
to be loosened with the pickaxe. Moreover, the rifled 24- 
pounders did not arrive from Sedan till 1 o'clock in the morning, 
and then they were in the travelling trunnion holes. There were 
no gyns, and thus the work of bringing them into the firing 
trunnion holes, and placing them in battery, seemed endless. 
But in spite of all, the whole of the guns were ready to open 
about 6 o'clock in the morning, and about this time the fire 
began with a " hurrah " for his Majesty the King. 

The high buildings in the citadel were indicated as the object 
for the 24-pounders in the first instance, and secondly the guns 
on the ramparts. An attempt was then to be made to breach a part 
of the high escarp wall. The rifle 12 and 6-pounders had orders 
to draw upon themselves the fire of the enemy's guns, and if 
possible to silence them, and also to oppose any sorties that might 
be attempted. The heavy howitzers and mortars, lastly, were 
told off to bombard the town itself, in order to bring pressure to 
bear on the commandant through the inhabitants. 


The construction of the batteries was carried on without 
interruption from the enemy's fire, and even the first few rounds 
were unanswered. But it was not long before an enemy not to 
be despised appeared on the whole of the fronts attacked, and he 
did not remain in our debt, but paid us back shot for shot. We 
succeeded, however, during the first afternoon, in setting- fire to 
several magazines ; guns were silenced here and there, and in 
many places the town burst into flames, but no white flag was 
shown to announce a surrender, though the bombardment had 
lasted day and night for fifty-four hours. Owing to the great 
distance, on an average 2,400 paces, and to the inaccuracy 
in shooting of the heavy French guns, the breach could not be 
reported practicable, so that there was no opportunity for the 
action of the infantry. The garrison artillery were very active, 
shot well, and repeatedly brought fresh guns into action. The 
bombardment above described, which cost the siege corps 6 
officers, 5 of them belonging to the artillery, and between 60 and 
70 men killed and wounded, had at length to be stopped, partly 
owing to the want of ammunition, partly omng to the want of 
suitable artillery, for the pieces found in Sedan and sent to Verdun 
proved themselves in practice to be inefficient. Preparations 
were made, therefore, as quickly as possible, for obtaining rein- 
forcements of guns and gunners. 

Nevertheless an attempt was made, by sending a flag of truce, 
to induce the commandant, Greneral Gruerin de Waldersbach, to 
surrender the fortress, but without result. The commandant, on 
the contrary, begged the commander of the besieging force, Major- 
General von Grayl, to desist from the siege, as both the garrison 
and the citizens were ready to do their duty to the last moment. 
A fitting reply was made to the French commandant. 

On the 18th October a military execution took place on the 
person of a French notary named Violard, who was convicted of 
treachery to the Prussian troops, and was shot at the village of 
Bras. At the same time the outposts at Maxeville discovered a 
balloon-post, which conveyed letters addressed to the Grovernment 
at Tours ; but it could not be caught. 

Meanwhile the technical preparations for a regular siege, spe- 
cially adapted for hurried operations, were taken in hand. Con- 
siderable supplies of ammunition and of Prussian siege guns were 
brought in to the artillery siege park. The garrison continued 
their energetic defence, and made, on the 28th October, at break 
of day, two simultaneous sorties against the Prussian batteries on 
the north and on the west of the fortress. In the first the enemy 
attacked the village of Belleville on both sides. The companies 
of the 65th regiment posted there, after being reinforced, drove 
him back, but unfortunately with a loss to themselves of an officer 
and 52 men killed, wounded, and missing. The destruction of the 
batteries contemplated by the enemy on this occasion ended in their 
rendering unserviceable only one gun that was already on a dis- 
mounted carriage. In the other sortie, which was directed against 
the batteries near Thierville, the French were more fortunate, for 


tbey succeeded in spiking the guns there. The loss at this place 
on both sides was not inconsiderable. The disabled guns were, 
however, made serviceable again on the same day. 

The fall of Metz rendered it practicable to send important 
additions in troops and guns to the siege corps at Verdun. The 
60th regiment (7th Brandenburg), the 8th jager battalion, 
and the 8th Rhenish pioneer battalion came up. The corps 
was altogether 15,000 strong, including 2,000 artillerymen. 
Colonels Meissner and Eiedel were nominated to the com- 
mands of the siege artillery and engineers respectively. All the 
technical preparations for a regular siege were put in hand at 
once. Additional materials for trenches and batteries were made 
ready, timber was cut for blindages, railway metals were sent up, 
and so on. 140 guns with their equipment of 1,000 rounds were 
on the spot. 

During these preliminary arrangements the commandant 
intimated his willingness to enter into negotiations for surrrender, 
which seemed to be justified since the fall of Metz, in order to 
avoid bloodshed and the destruction of the town. For this pnv- 
pose an armistice was granted for eight days, and on the 8th 
November the capitulation of the fortress and town of Verdun 

Two generals, 11 staff-officers, 150 officers of lower rank, and 
about 4,000 men were made prisoners; 136 guns, 23,000 stand of 
arms, a number of excellent Arabian horses, and very considerable 
amounts of military stores were found. 

The terms of capitulation were made very favourable for the 
enemy, in proof of which we here subjoin them. 

" Article T. The fortress and town of Verdun, with all warlike 
stores, stores of every description, official records, and all public 
property are to be given over on the 9th November to General 
von Gayl in the condition in which everything is at the moment 
the convention is signed, on the express understanding that 
they are to be restored to France after the conclusion of peace. 
On Wednesday, the 9th November 1870, at 10 o'clock in the 
morning, the town and citadel of Verdun are to be given over to 
the Prussian troops. At the same hour artillery and engineer 
officers, with some non-commissioned officers, will be admitted to 
the place to take charge of the powder magazines and unload the 

" Article II. The garrison are prisoners of war ; but the gardes 
mobiles, natives of Verdun, and the domiciled gardes nationales 
shall be free after laying down their arms, and none of the 
defenders of Verdun shall be molested. The gensdarmerie shall 
be free after laying down their arms, and shall keep their horses. 
The master-tradesmen of corps shall not be considered as soldiers, 
and are likewise free. 

" Article III. — The arms, and all warlike stores, consisting of 
guns, stores, military chests, waggons, ammunition, &c. shall be 
left in Verdun, in charge of a military commission, which will 
be appointed by the Greneral-Officer Commanding, and they shall 


at once hand these things over to Prussian commissioners, to 
revert to France on the conclusion of peace. The troops disarmed 
will be marched by corps in order to the places appointed for each. 
They retain their knapsacks and property. 

" Article IV. — The officers and persons of that rank who select 
imprisonment, and give their word of honour to present them- 
selves on a fixed day at a place previously appointed, are free, but 
only to betake themselves to such places. All retain their arms,, 
their horses, and property. 

" Article V. — The military surgeons remain behind to treat the 
wounded. They are to be treated according to the convention of 
Geneva, as are also the attendants of the hospitals. 

'^^ Article VI. — The town of Verdun remains free from all war 
tax and contribution in money. Persons, property, civil and reli- 
gious institutions will be regarded. As far as possible the troops 
will be quartered in the military buildings, except in case of an 
extraordinary number passing through. 

" Article VII. — All public establishments, the civil and com- 
mercial courts, the notariat, trade, and industry remain freely in_ 

" Article VIII. — Separate points that hereafter present them- 
selves shall be regulated by an appendix, wliicli shall have the 
same force as the present convention." 

There is no doubt that perfectly clear reasons have been given, 
for this surrender, extraordinarily favourable as it was to the 
enemy, but they have not yet been published. Before Verdun the 
combatants on both sides had learnt to know one another, and were 
convinced that a siege would have cost much time, materiel, and 
troops. Under the circumstances then existing both materiel and 
troops could be turned to better account. 

In the citadel much damage had been done, a straw store was 
burnt, and, generally :>peaking, all the buildings that it was 
possible to destroy had been destroyed. The parts of the town 
near the fortifications had also suffered much ; but the principal 
streets, and even the lofty cathedral with its observatory, remained 
uninjured by Prussian shells. The temper of the citizens was 
in accordance with the circumstances of the case. They had not 
this time any reason to fear such things as happened after the 
taking by the Prussians in 1792, when several officers gave a ball, 
and the revolutionary tribunal caused fifteen young girls to be 
guillotined — the youngest only seventeen years of age — because 
they had danced with Prussian officers. 



(plate XIII.) 

For the advance of the Grerman Army on Paris, as well as for 
their further operations in the north-west of France, it was of the 
highest strategical importance to have possession of the railway 
which goes northward from Paris to Soissons, by Nanteuil, Crepy, 
and Villers-Cotterets, and the road-junctions at Soissons, Chauny, 
Compiegne, Villers-Cotterets, and Chateau Thierry. 

Soissons is a pleasant manufacturing town with 11,000 inhabi- 
tants, and has three gates, through which pass the roads to Com- 
piegne, Laon, and Mezieres. The railway is to the south-east, 
and within range of the guns of the fortress at a distance of 1,500 
paces. The Aisne, rising in the forest of Argonne, and washing the 
town on the east, is here never more than 100 paces broad, and on 
the south of the fortress receives the rather deeply sunk stream of 
the Grrise. The Aisne is connected with the Ourcq canal, which, 
as is well known, discharges itself into the St. Denis canal, near 
Paris, about fifteen miles (70"2 English miles) from Soissons. 

On the left bank of the Aisne the fortress consists, on its east 
side, of a defensible wall, some twenty feet high, on which the 
north and south fronts terminate. These, as well as the west 
front, are formed of a number of irregidar bastions, with long 
connecting lines or curtains, strengthened only on the north-west 
by ravelins in front. Well-protected sluices afford the means of 
filling the ditches with water when the place is prepared for a 
siege, thus rendering them impassable. In time of peace the 
ditches are dry. 

Kecently the south-west front, which is defensively the weakest, 
has been appropriately strengthened by the addition of a large 
hornwork placed on some high ground which falls steeply towards 
the country. Nearly in the centre of the east front a massive 
bridge, of great beauty architecturally, crosses the Aisne to the 
subm'b of St. Vaast, which is enclosed independently by fortifica- 
tions, and serves as a bridge-head. The remaining suburbs — St. 
Christophe on the west, De Grrise and De Eheims on the south-west 
— are much built over, and hence of some disadvantage defensively, 
since they interfere with the fire of the guns of the works behind 
them. There are some bombproof powder magazines in the 
fortress, but bombproof barracks are entirely wanting, which is a 
serious disadvantage to the garrison. The profiles and the details 
of the works are such that the place is secure from a coup« 
de-main. The ground close round Soissons is a good deal cut up 

Plate XIII 

f/iPrFioTi PC S //.£ 


by valleys on the south-west and south-east, hut elsewhere flat and 
partially clothed with plantations ; further off, however, to the 
north on the plateau of Pasly, to the east at Crouy and Ville- 
neuve, it is covered with groups of houses, parks, and vineyards. 
On the south, at Belleu and Vauxbuin, it is favourable for the 
operations of an investment, for the roads here leading to Sois- 
sons can easily be converted into defensible defiles and trenches. 
Some of the heights, especially near Vauxbuin, are within such 
distances of the fortress that they afford advantageous artillery 
positions for our long-range rifled guns, and are, therefore, exceed- 
ingly well situated for the bombardment of the fortress. There 
are also some places from which the escarps are visible down to the 
foot of the wall at the bottom of the ditch. 

After the battle of Sedan the army of the Meuse resumed its 
march towards Paris, and consequently the head of the IVth Prus- 
sian army corps belonging to that army arrived before the fortress 
on the 11th September. Major von Wittich, of the general staff, 
was sent into the fortress with a flag of truce, to ask the Com- 
mandant to evacuate the place. The latter received him politely, 
but decisively rejected the proposal. The fortress was put into as 
good a condition for defence as time and circumstances permitted^ 
by cutting down the trees on the glacis, barricading the entrances, 
clearing the lines of fire, and demolishing the suburbs and railway. 
The commandant had destroyed the passage over the Aisne valley 
by the fine suspension-bridge at Vailly. The overflow of the 
Aisne into the lower basin of the ground liable to inundation put 
the country as far as Bucy-le-Loug under water. The place could 
not, therefore, be taken without special preparation. As the ad- 
vance on Paris was ordered to be hastened, the columns of the IVth 
army corps on the march were directed for the time to i3ass round 
the place, and it was thought sufficient to observe it vmtil the ar- 
rival of the 2nd landwehr division, under the command of Major- 
Greneral von Selchow, who were told off for the investment. They 
eventually came in the latter part of September. The divisional 
headquarters were fixed in La Carriere de I'Eveque. Owing to the 
paucity of troops, the investment of the fortress was incomplete in 
its earlier stages ; the right bank of the Aisne was almost entirely 
open to the French, so that they frequently sent out foraging 
parties there. Small engagements of the patrols were ineffectual 
to prevent this evil. The investment of the fortress, however, 
was accomplished, in the face of continual and repeated sorties and 
alarms of the outposts by the garrison. An affair of this kind on 
a large scale took place on the 28th September, and tlie enemy 
was repulsed by the landwehr battalions of Landsberg, Frankfurt, 
and Woldenberg. The garrison were consequently compelled to 
beg for a truce to carry off their killed and wounded, whilst our 
loss was but very small. Meanwhile the siege corps was formed 
of nine landwehr battalions, comprising those of Frankfurt, Kiis- 
trin, Landsberg, Woldenberg, Brandenburg, Euppin, Prenzlau, and 
Jiiterbogk, with the addition of the Halberstadt heavy reserve 
cavalry regiment, a squadron of the 1st Mecklenburg dragoons 


a heavy and a light reserve field battery, three companies of the 
2nd, 4th, and 11th regiments of garrison artillery, and a com- 
pany of Schleswig garrison pioneers (engineers), as well as the 
pontoon company of the 9th battalion of pioneers (engineers). 
Major-General von Selchow commanded the siege corps, Colonel 
Bartsch the siege artillery ; Colonel Braun, of the staff of His 
Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg Schwerin, was 
the Chief Engineer. 

In spite of repeated engagements with the energetic garrison, 
who, by a skilful use of the ground, impeded the advance of the 
siege corps, and, particularly on the 3rd and 9th October, brought 
on sanguinary actions for the possession of the villages of Crouy and 
Cuffies, the investment became by the 10th October close and 
complete. The enemy was forced into the interior of the fortress, 
and, owing to the energy he had shown, it was necessary to barri- 
cade, and put into a condition for defence, the nearest villages and 
farms, especially the Ferme la Periere. This was no difficult 
matter, as it was solidly built and suitable for defence. In order 
to connect the sections of the besieging force on both sides of the 
Aisne, the river was bridged at Pommiers and Venizel. On the 
following days the heavy guns from the batteries before Toul 
arrived. The park of artillery consisted of 

10 24-pounders 1 n-a j t> • j 

■1 r> 1 r. 1 c Kined Prussian ordnance. 

1 o 1 2-pounders J 

2 27-centimetre "j 

4 22-centimetre > French mortars. 

4 15-centimetre I 

Total 36 pieces of siege artillery. 

Materials for the construction of the batteries were also brought 
from Toul. The southern side of the fortress was found, on being 
reconnoitred, to be particularly well-adapted for bombardment. 
The following batteries were constructed : — 

Battery No. 1. Emplacement for field guns. 

Battery No. 2. Enfilading battery, 4 24-pounders. 

Battery No. 3. Mortar battery, 2 27-centimetre and 4 22- 
centimetre mortars. 

Battery No. 4. Breaching battery, 6 24-pounders. 

Batteries Nos. 5 & 6. Two dismounting batteries ; together, 
12 1 2-pounders. 

Battery No. 7. Dismounting battery against the hornwork 
and the flanking casemates at the gate to Compiegne. 

Battery No. 8. Emplacement for field guns. 

The two emplacements were' occupied by the two reserve 
batteries present with the siege corps. 

On the morning of the 12th October the bombardment began 
in the presence of H.R.H. the Grrand Duke of Mecklenburg, 
who had supreme command over the siege corps, and of His 
Highness the Duke of Saxe-Altenburg. The construction of the 
batteries had been proceeded with during the previous night 


without interruption from the enemy, but with much difficulty 
from the rocky nature of the soiL Before long the garrison 
artillery replied briskly from 16 or 18 guns to the fire of the 
besiegers, so that some of the batteries had to abandon their 
original objects, and join in the fight against the artillery of the 

October 13. — It had been observed that the French artillery 
had been very busy on the ramparts during the night, and had 
put new guns in position. The garrison opened fire with the 
same energy as on the day before. Out of regard for the great 
sufferings of the town a flag of truce was sent into the fortress at 
2 o'clock in the afternoon, but all proposals for a surrender were 
rejected ; consequently the fire was continued. 

October 14. — The artillery continued the engagement. The 
breaching batteries iDroduced the best results. On the previous 
night gun-emplacements Nos. 9 and 10 were constructed, and on 
the other hand batteries jSTos. 1 and 8 were removed, because the 
fire of the neighbouring fronts of the fortress had been concentrated 
on them. These gun-emplacements were so situated that the direct 
fire of the works opposite to them could do them no serious 

October 15. — During the night the enemy had been at work 
at the breach that had been effected, though an incessant fire 
upon it was kept up, and had repaired the damage, in full expec- 
tation of an assault. The breach was in fact pi'acticable, the 
wall had been demolished for a length of 45 or 50 paces, 
and the earth of the parapet had fallen down, and formed a ramp 
into the dry ditch. There was no masonry counterscarp there, 
a circumstance that was so far of importance, that it would have 
facilitated an assault of the breach, if necessary. In order to be 
able, in case of need, to proceed with an abbreviated regular attack, 
it was intended to construct close to La Buerie a portion of a 
parallel, which might eventually have been used in connection 
with the so-called " second batteries," and to afford cover to the 
assaulting columns. This parallel was conveniently situated, as 
regarded the breach that had been made opposite to it, some 800 
paces off, the projected gun-emplacements Nos. 9 and 10 being 
about 100 paces in rear. 

Arrangements had been already made for the assault, when, on 
the 15th October, a French flag of truce arrived, with a request 
that an officer might be sent to negotiate for a surrender with 
the Commandant, Greneral Denue. By order of H.R.H. the Grrand 
Duke, Colonel von Krensky, Chief of the general staff of the 
Xlllth army corps, and the Count von Schlieffen, Captain on 
the general staff, were appointed to conduct these negotiations ; 
and these officers returned at 2 o'clock in the morning of the 
16th October, to the headquarters at Venizel, with the capitida- 
tion concluded. The distress and want in the town, whose 
citizens were not prepared for a siege, had apparently hastened 
this capitulation. The fire from our guns had caused great havoc 

36996. H 


in the place, and made it almost impracticable to continue the 
duty on the ramparts. It may be observed, in reference to 
the first, that the arsenal and other military buildings, as well as 
the large hospital, had been destroyed by fire, and with regard to 
the latter, that a very large proportion of the guns on the ram- 
parts were found to be dismounted. This state of things and the 
existence of a practicable breach must have been the immediate 
causes of the request of the commandant for a capitulation. 

On the 16th October, at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, the 
German forces occupied the gates, and the garrison, about 4,000 
strong, gave themselves up on the glacis: 128 guns, including 
many pieces damaged, without side-arms, or destroyed, 70,000 
shells, 3,000 cwt. of powder, a military chest with 92,000 francs 
(about £3,680), and a quantity of clothing and equipment stores, 
were the spoil of the victors. The troops marched past in front 
of the cathedral before H.E.H. the Grand Duke, who placed him- 
self in the square formed by the soldiers, caused them to present 
arms, and took possession of the fortress, with three cheers for 
His Majesty the King. H.R.H. the Grand Duke of IMecklenburg 
thereupon proceeded by Rheims to Paris. In sjDite of the heav}?^ 
fire on both sides, the siege artillery had to lament the loss of only 
3 killed and 27 wounded. 



(plate ti.) 

After the capitulation of Metz the 1st army received orders to 
invest the fortresses of Thionville, Longwy, Montmedj, and 
Mezieres, and to overthrow the newly raised armies of the enemy 
in the North-west of France. 

At La Fere the roads from Cambray and Amiens meet. The place 
itself lies on the highroad, which leads from Laon by Compiegne 
to Paris, and also on the Crozat canal, which can be used as a 
communication by water from Paris by Valenciennes to Antwerp. 
The railway from Laon to Paris joasses by the place on the south, 
and goes thence westward to Tergnier. From here the lines 
northwards to Amiens, Cambray, and Valenciennes branch off. 

In considering the important and influential jDosition of the 
little fortress of La Fere, 4 miles(l8| English miles) north of 
Soissons, with regard to the operations of the 1st army. Baron 
Manteuffel, general of cavalry, its commander, could have no 
doubt that the place ought to be taken as soon as possible, since it 
barred the communications above mentioned. 

La Fere has 5,000 inhabitants, and was formerly the seat of 
an artillery school of established reputation, whence have pro- 
ceeded the most famous generals in this branch of the French army. 
The place is of no importance otherwise. The fortifications of 
La Fere, a fortress of the second class, consisted of a high town- 
wall, arranged for defence, in the manner of the middle ages. The 
deep ditches in front of this wall are flanked by towers — some 
half-round, some half-angular — or by flanks in the escarp. On the 
west, north, and east, this town-wall is covered from direct fire by 
an earthen parapet of weak profile and irregular trace. Before 
the introduction of rifled guns of long range, and of indirect 
breaching-fire, this may have sufficed, but now the to^vn-wa^, in 
spite of the earthen parapet, can be got at from great distances. 
The passages over the Oise and the Crozat canal are covered 
by a little redoubt made like a bridge-head. 

The fortress was as well and completely prepared for a siege 
as one could expect. It should particularly be observed that the 
Oise was dammed up, and thus an extensive and effective inunda- 
tion was caused over the meadow-ground, which was favourably 
situated for that purpose. This low ground is only about a quarter 
of a mile (2,060 yards) wide close to the fortress, but becomes 
broader on the north and south, and extends to the east and west 
as far as some gently sloping heights ; and these, more particularly 

H 2 


on the eastward, pei'mit a complete view into the fortress, and 
afford very well-placed sites for l)atteries, wlience the place can be 
effectually shelled. 

In order to hurry on as much as possible the investment of 
La Fere, the 4th infiiutry brigade, under the command of Major- 
Greneral von Zglinitzky, was sent on at once from Metz by rail to 
Soissons, to march thence by road, on the 14th November, to take 
up the ground before La Fere. The brigade comprised the 4th 
and 8th East Prussian regiments, a squadron of the 10th 
dragoons, and a heavy battery of the 1st regiment of artillery. 
In addition there were attached to the force a company of pioneers 
(engineers), six companies of garrison artillery, with 16 siege-guns 
(four 24-pounders and twelve 12-pounders) and six 22-centimetre 
mortars. The companies of artillery belonged to the 2nd, 4th, 
1 1th, and guard regiments of garrison artillery. 

On the 1 otli November La Fere was closely invested, and, after 
repeated reconnaissances of the fortress, the south-east front was 
selected for attack. Far in advance of the head of the army to 
which he belonged, surrounded by an irritated and excited popula- 
tion, in the midst of hostile forces in j)rocess of formation, the task 
of Major-Greneral von Zglinitzky v;as no easy one. Grreat prudence 
was required, for the detachment had to be so placed round the 
fortress that it could at any moment front either way. In fact, 
on the 20th November it was attacked, on the right bank of the 
Oise, by six companies of the enemy, with four guns, at Menessis, in 
the country near Tergnier. The battalion of the 5th regiment, 
stationed there, succeeded, however, in repulsing the attack, with 
considerable loss to the enemy. Apparently in connection with 
this fight, the garrison at the same time attempted a sortie, without 
deriving therefrom any advantage whatever. 

Meanwhile the siege-guns, mentioned above, had arrived 
before the place, chiefly from Soissons, and preparations for a 
bombardment were begun by getting ready some materials for 
the construction of batteries. The siege-park was formed at 
Eogecourt, a place situated on the railway, in a valley nearly 
three-quarters of a mile (6,178 yards) east of the fortress. 

On the evening of the 24th November progress was made witli 
the construction of the batteries, and they were at once armed. 
The enemy did not interfere with this work, so that on the 
morning of the 25th November, at half-past eight o'clock, the 
fortress was bombarded from seven batteries, which were 
built on the heights of Danizy, west of the place of the 
same name, on both sides of the road to Pont-a-Boussy. The 
fire was directed not only against the positions of the enemy's 
artillery on the works, but also against the railway station lying 
on the south side of the Faubourg Neuf, which had been barricaded, 
fortified, and rendered impassable by blowing up two bridges. The 
north front was also enfiladed, so that with these dispositions it 
was impossible to avoid at the same time bombarding the further 
portion of the town. The garrison replied with vigour to the fire 
of the siege-batteries, which did terrible havoc in all directions. 


They had placed 24 guns on the front attacked, and had changed 
the positions of their artillery. Soon the town was on fire in 
several places, and the distress there was the greater, because 
there were no cellars in which the inhabitants could take refuge. 
The garrison was entirely without bombproof cover of any sort, 
the only barracks in the place were soon in flames, several 
magazines caught fire, the gate of the fort towards Laon was shot 
to pieces, and the fronts attacked were seriously damaged. Under 
these circumstances the commandant. Captain Planche, who be- 
longed to the navy, after a 30-hours' bombardment, could hold 
out no longer. He gave up the fortress on the 26th November, 
and thus 2,000 prisoners, chiefly garde-mobiles, 113 garrison 
guns of different calibres, with their ammunition, 5,000 stand 
of arms, and other military stores, fell into our hands. As La 
Fere contained an artillery arsenal, large stores of projectiles, 
lead, iron, and timber also became ours as spoil of war. The 
entry into the fortress was made on the 27th November. 

Under the circumstances it was necessary at once to provide 
La Fere with a sufficient garrison, and to put it again in a condi- 
tion of defence, so far as was practicable with the means available. 
For this purpose it was of the first imj)ortance to repair the very 
serious damage that had been done by the bombardment to the 
ramparts and gateways. The proximity of the enemy made this 
especially necessary. In fact, on the 16th December, French 
columns appeared before the fortress, whence, to the number of 
3,000 or 4,000 men they pushed on, crossing to the left bank of 
the Oise with the apparent intention of attacking Laon. The 
enemy, however, soon went back again without attempting to 
invest La Fere, to recapture it, or even to threaten this important 
railway junction. 



(plate XIV.) 

Thionville, or Diedenhofen, a place with 7,800 inhabitants, is the 
most northern of the French strongholds on the Moselle, and with 
it commences the line of fortresses — including Long-wy, Mont- 
medy, Sedan, Mezieres, and Eocroy — constructed as a protection 
against attacks through Luxembourg and Belgium. 

The fortress was constructed at various epochs. It has been 
built from designs, partly by Vauban, and partly by Cormontaigne, 
It consists of three chains of defences, being the main work and a 
bridge-head on either side of the Moselle, and a work called 
' Le Fort,' on the right bank of the arm of the Moselle, which 
branches off to the south of the place, and is used as a canal. On 
the left bank of the river lies the main work within the town, 
which has two gates, one on the north and one on the south, 
leading respectively to Luxembourg and Metz, and contains the 
great arsenal and a considerable store of provisions. Four regular 
bastioned fronts are joined to the Moselle by connecting lines, 
which on the lower side are strengthened by a complete and inde- 
pendent hornwork. 

Eavelins, counterguards, and a system of lunettes at the foot 
of the glacis give the place considerable defensive strength. The 
gorge of the fortress along the Moselle is closed by an indented 
defensible wall. A massive bridge of five arches spans the Moselle, 
here loO paces (123^ yards) wide, and leads into the fortifications 
of the bridge-head, which consist of a flat elongated crown-work. 
This work has three bastioned fronts, with counterguards and 
lunettes at the foot of the glacis in front of the flank bastions. 
The ditches are wet. Three bridges, or locks, lead over the 
arm of the Moselle used as a canal, already mentioned, 
to the right bank and into the strong crown-work of Le 
Fort, there situated. This consists of two bastioned fronts, 
provided with ravelins, and with cunettes in the ditches. The 
roads from Metz, Bouzonville, Saarlouis, and Sierk-Treves, debouch 
into this work. Outside the fortifications the French held the 
villages La Orange, Malgrange, and others, situated in the rayon 
of the fortress. 

Thionville commands the Moselle, and the important high- 
roads to Metz, Longwy, Luxembourg, and Saarlouis. Moreover, 
the place is an important railway junction, for the line leading 

a^aaaaaa au,ua a. hussuuv sijMeBattenes on22.NovemJ)er 


from Luxembourg to Metz is joined on the south of Thionville by 
the railway from Longuion to Benning. Under these circum- 
stances ThionYille was drawn into the sphere of the military 
operations, as soon as the Grerman armies crossed the frontier. It 
lay in the district in which tlie 1st army operated, and as early as 
the 8 th of August an advanced party was sent against the place 
from the Vlllth army corps. As we were in contact with the enemy 
after the battles of Forbach and Spicheren, and knew that he had 
gone to Metz, Thionville was only observed at first, and it was 
not till after affairs had become more settled at Metz that the for- 
tress was so far invested, that all communication with the place 
was cut off. At first the troops in observation consisted only of 
three squadrons of the 2nd reserve cavalry regiment formed at 
Deutz, who wore the uniform of cidrassiers, and were armed with 
lances. Then came, in passing, the landwehr battalions of 
Kummer's reserve division, the 2nd (Thuriugian) regiment, the 
94th (Oldenburg) regiment (to which two guns were attached), 
the 10th (Lauenburg) jager battalion, the 3rd reserve hussars, 
and lastly, the 10th ulan regiment (1st Posen). On the south of 
the fortress the communication between the troops posted there was 
maintained by a bridge between Ucange and Bertrange. 

For some time Lieutenant-Greneral von Bothmer had the com- 
mand of the troops before Thionville, but he rather observed than 
invested it. The operations were confined to watching the roads and 
destroying the bridges and telegraphs. The duty was monotonous 
enough for some weeks, though there were some bold and prudently 
conducted reconnaissances made by the garrison, which brought the 
Grerman force into contact with their equally active opponents. A 
fight of this kind took place on the 13th September at Veymerange, 
west of Thionville, where the French had gone ftom the fortress to 
forage. Numbers of franc-tireurs scoured the country, kept up 
communication with the unfriendly inhabitants, as well as with 
those of ' neutrcd ' Luxembourg, and were able in many ways to 
help the garrison in Thionville, and also to give them news of 
their enemy's movements. Thus, the French, on the 1 7th Septem- 
ber, with two companies of infantry and a picket of dragoons, at- 
tacked suddenly a train of 165 wagons at Konigsmachern, between 
Sierk and Thionville. The train was laden with oats for the 
Prussian army. The weak escort of six men were killed or made 
prisoners, and the train taken into the fortress. After fifty-eight 
wagons had come within the rayon of Thionville, a patrol of the 
3rd reserve hussars succeeded in recapturing 107 wagons from 
the enemy, quite close to the fortress. 

Almost at the same time as this attack, a railway-train was smug- 
gled in with provisions, which had been collected in Luxembourg 
and Bettenburg ostensibly for the German army. For this purpose, 
on the night of the 24th-2oth Sejjtember, the rails that had 
been torn up were relaid on the Thionville and Luxembourg line ; 
and the provision-train of sixty wagons, containing meal, rice, coffee, 
and sugar, was brought into the fortress, where the garrison were 


to receive this consignment. The Prussian detachments on the 
south and west of Thionville heard of the affair, and endeavoured 
to prevent the unloading, but did not succeed in doing so. The 
whole business was arranged by tlie French company of the Chemin 
de Fer de I'Est in Luxembourg, who own the section of railway in 

Such a lesson increased the watchfulness of the Prussian troopSy 
and issuing from Sierk, where a Prussian garrison was stationed, 
they succeeded in seizing twenty provision-wagons destined 
for Thionville, and coming from Mondorf and Bettenburg in 

On the loth and 18th October it was necessary to send a flag 
of truce into the fortress, and Major von Prittwitz and Captain 
von Eickstadt, of the cavalry, went in for this purpose. Shots were 
fired from the fortress at both of them. 

On the 17th October the French made a sortie, but were 
quickly driven back again into the fortress by our men. We had 
fifteen wounded ; the enemy carried off their killed and vrounded 
with them into the place. 

After the capitulation of Metz, the 14th infantry division, 
under the command of Lieutenant-General von Kamecke, took up a 
position before Thionville for the complete investment of the place, 
and thus commenced, in fact, the series of sieges of the north- 
eastern fortresses of France. 

On the 9th and 10th of November the siege corps began its 
march from JNIetz, in two echelons. Besides the infantry division 
already mentioned, it consisted of 13 companies of garrison 
artillery, under the command of Major Schmelzer, 3 heavy and 2 
light batteries of the 7th regiment of field artillery, 7 com- 
panies of pioneers (engineers), including 5 companies of garrison 
pioneers of different army corps, pontoon column No. 7, and a 
bridge-train captured in Metz. The pioneers were under the 
command of Major Treumann, commanding the 7th battalion of 

Lieutenant-Geueral von Kamecke placed his headquarters in 
Hayange. He caused an observatory to be established at Chateau - 
Serre, whence the fortress was completely seen into. At Ukange 
a pontoon-bridge was substituted for the ferry previously existing, 
and the maintenance of this bridge later on gave much trouble, 
owing to the lising of the waters of the Moselle. 

On the 20th November, the materials required for the con- 
struction of the batteries having been previously brought up 
between the I4th and 18th of November, and having been pre- 
pared under the direction of the technical troops, a matter of no 
great difficulty in this well-timbered country, the actual construc- 
tion began. The work at the batteries was partly masked by 
plantations, which were only removed immediately before the fire 

On the 19th November the siege-guns, 158 in number, were 
all assembled. 


The siege-park consisted of: — 

36 24-pounders, 10 of them short, 
50 1 2-pounders, 

It tpoundei's } °^ ^^' ^"^^ ^'^^^^'y^ 

8 13-inch mortars, 

4 1 1-inch ditto, 
18 8-inch ditto. 

158 total number of pieces. 

The main artillery park was in Suzauge, the smaller one in 
Hettange-grande, and Immeldange. 

On the 21st November General von Zastrow, of the infantry, 
commanding the Yllth army corps, arrived from Metz with his 
staff, in order to be present at the then imminent bombardment 
of the fortress. For the bombardment the following batteries liad 
been erected : — 

1 . On the right bank of the INloselle, at the village of Haute- 
Yutz, four field batteries, three 6-pounder batteries, and one 4- 
pounder battery ; at the wood of Illange, four 24-pounders and 
four 1 2-pounders, four 13-inch French mortars, which had 
been brought from Metz. These batteries fired upon the bridge- 
head and north-east front of the town, at a distance of about 
2.500 paces. 

2. On the left bank of the Moselle, at the farm of Gfassion, four 
short rifled 24-pounders. Here also four rifled mortars should have 
been placed, but were not put in position for certain reasons. 
This 24-pounder battery was established by a detachment from the 
artillery school of gunnery at Spandau. At Chateau-Serre, a 
24-pounder 4-gun batter}^ ; on the left of the castle, a similar 24- 
pounder battery. These batteries fired upon the north-west front 
of the town, at a distance of about 5,500 paces. In the wood of 
Veymerange, a battery of short 24-pounders ; in front of Vey- 
merange, two batteries of 12-pouuders for four guns each. These 
three batteries were for the bomljardmeut of the town, at about 
4,000 paces' distance. At Maison-rouge, in front of Hettange- 
grande, were three 12-pounder batteries, each for four guns. 
These batteries fired upon the town at 3,900 paces distance, and 
enfiladed some of the fronts of the fortress. 

There were thus 16 batteries, with 85 guns, in action. 

Major von Eynatten commanded the artillery, Colonel Eiedel 
the engineers. The latter had originally been ordered to Verdun, 
but that fortress capitulated on the very day of his arrival. 

Up to the day last mentioned, only the ridges had been occu- 
pied round the fortress, which lies with its small towers deep in 
the valley of the Moselle. On the night of the 21st-22nd 
November, however, the villages and farms lying in front were 
taken — namely, the farm of Grassion, Terville with the adjoining 
mill of St. Marie, Haute and Basse Gruentrange, La Grange, and 
Malgrange, St. Francois and St. Anna. At the same time, in very 


bad weather, a j^ioneer company connected the churchyard at 
Terville with the village, by a trench with a salient angle, in order 
that those in the fortress might, by seeing the earthworks, be con- 
vinced of the gravity of the situation. 

The guarding of the low ground by the Moselle was undertaken, 
on the left bank, by two squadrons of the 2nd reserve cavalry 
regiment; on the right by some squadrons of the 15th regiment 
of hussars. 

On the 22nd November, at 7 o'clock in the morning, the bom- 
bardment began in thick miny weather, rendering it difficult to take 
aim. After a short time the artillery of the fortress also opened 
fire. The prefecture, the arsenal, three wings of a large barrack, 
the large riding-school, and the town-hall became, one after 
another, a prey to the flames. The conflagrations lasted through- 
out the night. As the Moselle happened to be very high, some of 
the streets and the cellars were under water, and it was impossible 
for the citizens to take refuge in the latter. Eegardless of the 
destructive fire of the siege-guns, the defence of 'the place was 
maintained with energy, for the first 24 hours, by the artillery of 
the garrison ; and for this the commandant of the place, Colonel 
Turnier, is deserving of credit. Longer than this the defenders 
could not contend against the increasing severity of the bombard- 
ment, as the garrison had to be employed almost solely in ex- 
tinguishing the fires in the town. The rate of fire of the siege- 
batteries was ordered to be reduced to one round every half-hour 
by day, and one round every hour by night. 

On the night of the 22nd-23rd November, the artillery of the 
garrison set fire to the village of Beauregard, the great establish- 
ment of Jesuits, and the rendezvous of the franc-tireurs at the 
time of the investment, and thus prevented its occupation by the 
Prussian troops, which was to have taken place that very night. 

On the 23rd November, at 2 p.m., the tricolour was replaced by 
the white fiag on the church-tower. The besiegers looked upon 
this as a sign that a capitulation was desired. On the side of the 
attack, therefore, fire ceased. As no flag of truce came from the 
fortress, Lieutenant-Greneral von Kamecke sent one of his adjutants 
into the place. He returned, however, with a request from the 
place that the women and children might be allowed to leave the 
fortress. Under the circumstances this request could not be en- 
tertained, and the bombardment was therefore resumed at half- 
past 7 in the evening, and lasted till 10 o'clock in the morning of 
the 24th November. About 2 o'clock in the afternoon, after 
bombardment for 52 hours, the fortress capitulated, on the terms 
agreed upon at Sedan. On the Prussian side the capitulation was 
concluded by Major the Baron von Hilgers, of the general staff. 

On the 25th November, at 11 o'clock in the forenoon, the place 
was given up. First the gates, powder-magazines, and mines were 
taken possession of, and then the French garrison marched out, and 
laid down their arms in front of the gate of Saarlouis. Thence the 
garrison were sent off, in three detachments, to the South-G-erman 
fortresses, as prisoners of war. 


The loss iu men on both sides was small. The Prussians lost 
only two killed and eight wounded, the French apparently only a 
few killed and 40 wounded, whilst of the civil population no one 
was seriously hurt. The losses entailed on the latter by the bom- 
bardment were, however, very heavy, and were estimated at 
3,000,000 francs (^120,000). 

Besides the 4,000 prisoners, including some national guards, 
200 guns, with great quantities of other warlike stores, were 
taken. It should be mentioned that the occupation of Thionville 
led to the discovery of unquestionable evidence of the violation 
of neutrality by the Grrand Duchy of Luxembourg. 

In conclusion, we may add, as a historical note, that Thion- 
ville was captm-ed by surprise by France in 1558, just as were 
Metz and Strasburg. Subsequently it was given up to the 
Spaniards, and came first definitely under French rule in 1659. 

With this siege, however, Thionville has once more become 



(plate XV.) 

The fortress is situated on a conical hill, sloping away from it on 
three sides. To the north the hill is joined on to a ridge of very- 
great importance defensively, which, at the village of Thonelle, 
attains its greatest breadth and height above the bottom of the 
valley of the Chiers. That river here receives several mountain 
streams. Eound the fortress the ground is of more or less mili- 
tary importance, generally covered with wood, and there are also 
hills difficult of access, which slope down steeply to small water- 
courses. Between this ridge and the hill on which the fortress is 
situated the ground falls rapidly, and at the point of greatest de- 
pression the roads from Paris to Luxembourg and from Sedan to 
Metz cross. The railway, Sedan-Thionville-Metz, passes under 
this depression of the ground, through a tunnel about 1,200 paces 
987^ yards) long. Although the fortress was constructed as far 
back as the middle of the sixteenth century, it was developed into 
its present form, and very much strengthened, in the time of Louis 
XIV., under the direction of Marshal Vauban. The defences then 
existing consisted principally of a high scarp-wall with many pro- 
jections, and provided with machicoulis and other defensiv^e ar- 
rangements of that description ; and partly around this wall was 
added the existing enceinte, with eight i]*regular bastions and six 
ravelins, in precise conformity with the edge of the plateiui, and 
not in accordance with any definite system of fortification. Tlie 
great height of the profile and the situation of the fortress, on a 
rocky hill, 200 feet high, impracticable for troops, give the place 
its strength, and render it secure from any sudden attack in force. 
There are no detached works. 

The town of JNIontmedy, witli 2,500 inhabitants, is divided 
into the lower town, which lies in the valley; and the upper town, 
which is enclosed by the mountain fortress. In the latter there are 
five barracks for 800 men, two powder-magazines, and the arsenal. 
The lower town, also called Medybas, is surrounded by a crenel- 
lated wall, which, being uncovered on almost all sides, can be easily 
breached. The hospital, and a cavalry barrack for 100 men, witli 
stabling for 100 horses, are here situated. 

By the 3rd September, after the battle of Sedan, the head of 
a column of the Eoyal Prussian guard corps, under the command 
of Captain Zimmerman, of the 3rd ulan regiment of the guard, 
had arrived in the immediate neighbourhood of the fortress. That 


b.h b b,b.i,b,b,6.1'rwsslu.ii Sieae Hictlefif.^- t>n^ i2JJec^n\LeT- 
c, oj'riisjian Field JinW^nf^ otv I2'9«t>«rwbeir 



officer caused the commandant to be summoned to surrender, by 
Lieutenant von Jagow, but the demand was refused. In riding 
thither the trumpeter with the flag of truce was shot. This was 
immediately reported to the Commander-in-Chief of the army of 
the Meuse, under whose orders the guard corps was. The com- 
mander-in-Chief, in consequence, ordered the guard corps, with a 
brigade of infantry and the necessary cavalry and artillery, to 
make an attempt to capture the fortress. The two heights, on the 
north and north-east of the place, afforded suitable positions for 
the artillery, as they lay nearly as high as the fortress ; but for 
field-guns, which were almost the only ones available, the distances 
were too great for obtaining thoroughly satisfactory results. The 
bombardment was to take place chiefly from the north, from seven 
batteries of the brigade of artillery of the guard. These were 
placed as far as possible behind natural cover, and swept both the 
town and the fortress in the direction of their greatest length. 

On the 5th September, at 10 a.m., the batteries opened fire on 
the fortress. Soon the sub-prefecture and the adjoining part of 
the town were in flames. About 11 o'clock the mayor of Thonelle 
was sent by the officer commanding the artillery brigade of the 
guard. Prince Kraft zu Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen, to the commandant. 
Colonel Eeboul, to demand a surrender of the fortress within an 
horn- and a half. The reply given to the mayor was the same as 
that made to the bearer of the flag of truce on the j^revious day. 
Upon this the artillery fight began afresh on both sides. After 
some hours it was broken ofi" on the side of the Prussians. The 
Prussians lost four men and one horse. As by these proceedings 
satisfaction had been obtained for the breach of international law 
in shooting the trumpeter with the flag of truce, and as, more- 
over, it was manifest that the fortress could not be taken without 
more preparation of a special character, the Prussians resumed 
their march on Paris. The French had three killed and 15 

At this period it was not intended to take the trouble to watch 
and invest the fortress, which lay off the line of marcli and of the 
operations of the Grerman armies. Under these circumstances, 
the commandant was able to send away part of the garrison to the 
French army of the North, and to carry on the duties of the fortress 
with almost national guards alone. Supported by, and in com- 
munication with, tlie people of the country, the commandant did 
not fail to prove troublesome to the Prussian lines of communica- 
tion that lay nearest to him. In consequence, many encounters 
took place with the 2nd and 4th companies of the 65th regiment, 
which were detached from the investing corps before Verdun to 
protect the post at Stenay, between the former place and Sedan. 
After their departure, on the 7th October, the commandant of 
the fortress made a sudden attack on Stenay. For this purpose 
about 600 men of the garrison of Montmedy were sent out on the 
night of the 15th-16th of October, and about 6 o'clock in 
the morning they arrived at Stenay, only 1| miles (8:^^ English 


miles) distant from the fortress. Here a street-fight commenced. 
Although the garrison in Stenay was turned out very quickly, yet 
the French succeeded, with the assistance of some confederates in 
the place, in carrying off to Montmedy the staff-officer of the 
post, with his adjutant, two artillery officers who happened to 
be in Stenay, an officer of the intendant with 100 men of the 
Briihl landwehr battalion, 40 of the Borken landwehr battalion, 
and 40 sick, and in addition a Prussian military chest, containing 
10,000 francs (ig400). 

It was not till after the capitulation of Metz, and almost at 
the same time with the close blockade of Thionville, that Mont- 
medy was invested by the 27th brigade, under the command of 
Colonel von Pannewitz, and further by the 74th (1st Hanoverian) 
regiment, the 39th (Lower Ehenish) fusiliers, the 7th West- 
phalian jager battalion, and some cavalry and artillery. 

In occupying the positions round Montmedy on the 16th 
November, the 1st and 2nd battalions of the 74th regiment 
became engaged at Chauvency and Thonelle with the French 
infantry, who were driven back into the fortress, lea\dng behind 
86 unwounded prisoners. 

The siege-park told off for the bombardment of Montmedy 
was almost the same in the calibre of guns, and also as regards 
the troops employed and the commanding officers, as was engaged 
at Thionville. From that place they were sent as far as Longuyon 
by rail, and thence by march along the road to Montmedy. The 
parks were in several places. The chief park was at Juvigny sur 
Loison, with supplementary parks at Bazailles and Chauvency, to 
the south and west of Montmedy respectively. 

On the 28th November Lieutenant-Greneral von Kamecke 
arrived, with the rest of the 14th division, exclusive of a portion 
detached from before Montmedy, to observe the fortress of Longwy. 
Headquarters were in Louppi. Meanwhile the technical prepara- 
tions for the bombardment were commenced. 

On the nth December the parks were complete. In the 
meantime the pioneers (engineers) constructed roads and huts 
for the pickets, and were employed on railway and telegraph 

On the 9th, 10th, and 11th December the batteries were con- 
structed under very difficult circumstances, the enemy endeavour- 
ing to interrupt the work by the fire of artillery and of chassepots. 
At 1 1 o'clock in the evening the infantry took possession of the 
"\dllages of Thonne-les-Pres, Frenoy, Ville Claye, and Ire-le-Pres. 
In the night of the llth-12th December the arming of the batte- 
ries was taken in hand, a task that was very difficult, owing to the 
badness of the roads and the hard-frozen snow. The batteries, 
except the rifled mortar-battery, were situated at distances of 2,000 
to 3,800 paces from the fortress, on the heights at Yille Claye 
and Gerauvaux. The mortar-battery, however, was in the valley 
close behind the village of Vigneul and the Bois de Moncey. The 
siege-pieces employed were : — 


8 long rifled 24-poimders, 
10 short rifled 24-poimders, 

4 rifled mortars, 
20 rifled 12-pounders. 

Total ... 42 siege-pieces. 

In addition there were twenty 6-poimder field-guns, and with 
these pieces a heavy field-battery of the 7th regiment of artillery, 
and another of the 4th regiment of artillery, were posted on the 
heights to the north of the fortress. 

On the 12th December, at half-past 7 in the morning, the 
weather being clear, fire was commenced from all the batteries, 
which had been armed altogether with 60 pieces. The west front 
of the fortress was the chief object of the fire. Orders were 
given that by day each gun should expend five rounds, and each 
mortar three rounds in an hour, and by night each gun and each 
mortar one round. The special object ordered to be aimed at 
by the batteries of the attack were the west front above mentioned, 
certain flanking casemates, the powder-magazine, the hollow tra- 
verses, the gate of the fortress leading to the town, and the fortress 
itself. After a short time the garrison replied very briskly, and 
although several guns were silenced on the front of attack, the 
enemy kept up a well-directed fire till the evening, but then the 
fire entirely ceased. The battery armed with five short rified 24- 
pounders, on the height and in front of the wood of Grerauvaux, 
was the most heavily cannonaded. Good results were not to be ex- 
pected from the siege artillery, for towards noon heavy rain came 
on, which lasted throughout the day and night. 

On the 13th December fire was continued, at a slow rate, only 
one round each hour being fired, because a thick fog prevailed, 
and made it impossible to see the object aimed at. The effect 
could not be ascertained, except that towards evening the town 
was on fire. The practice of the artillery had produced a fright- 
ful effect on the buildings of the place and on the fortifications. 
Among the latter, some iron splinter-proofs, apjDarently con- 
structed of railway metals, and built up with masonry, were 
entirely destroyed. Hardly a house remained uninjm-ed, and the 
public buildings were for the most part destroyed. About 8 
o'clock in the evening the order was given to cease fire, as negoti- 
ations were entered into for a surrender. The commandant, 
having previously refused to capitulate, now, after 36 hours' bom- 
bardment, said that he wished to surrender. He sent for this 
purpose the second in command to Ire-le-Sec, whither also went 
Major the Baron von Hilgers, of the Prussian general staff. At 
2 o'clock in the morning the terms of capitulation were concluded, 
and their ratification took place by 8 o'clock. 

On the 14th December, at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, the 
fortress was given up, and the Prussian troops marched in. From 
the 60 pieces in action, about 3,000 rounds had been fired alto- 
gether. The effect produced by the rifled guns, and chiefly by 
the rifled mortars, had hastened the capitulation, and had caused 


such devastation, that a longer resistance of the enemy's artillery 
by the fortress was impossible. The loss of the besiegers amounted 
to 12 wounded ; that of the French to some 30 or 40 killed, and 
50 wounded. 

With the taking of Montmedy, there fell into the hands of the 
victors 3,000 prisoners, 65 guns, of which 21 were rifled, and several 
well-filled magazines; besides which 4 Prussian officers with 237 men 
were liberated from captivity. General Aon Kamecke had made 
the commandant answerable with his head for the lives and health 
of the prisoners, after he had previously refused curtly to exchange 
them. The French had blown up the railway tunnel. By the 
fall of Montmedy the railway line from Thionville to Sedan was 
opened for the Grerman armies before Paris, and operating in the 
North-west of France, and, moreover, a sto]) was put to the move- 
ments of the franc-tireurs, who had their headquarters in the 

Plate XVI 

Frwssicmi Sie^e Soytteries 
JV" 1-8 IiTtfCladb.CcnMitefi ii^B^cachet-Satrtern ,f 
" 1-irjiEtmiUeuse.f Batteries 

.uit,,ijj,^iv(ixrifji and/ rniichcs g I'eoe nt yot 

rrcr S IV! E 



(plate xyi.) 

This fortress is the point of junction of the roads from Thionville 
and Metz, from the Belgian fortress of Arlon and from Luxembm^g, 
and from Verdun and Paris. It also bars the junction line con- 
necting the railway from Thionville to Mezieres with that from 
Luxembourg to Arlon. 

The occupation of the place only became desirable after 
Thionville, Sedan, Montmedy, and Mezieres had been taken, as it 
appeared necessary then to establish communication between 
Northern Lorraine and the neighbouring country, and to put an 
end to the movements of the franc-tireurs in that region, which 
were much facilitated by the fortress. The siege of Longwy was 
to be regarded as the final operation against the north-east line of 
French fortresses, excepting Givet and Charlemont. 

Longwy contains about 3,500 inhabitants, and is situated on 
the right bank of the Chiers. It is divided into an upper and a 
lower town, the latter being in the valley, the former on the 
plateavi in the fortress. The work was built by Marshal Vauban 
in 1680, as a fortified place opjDosite Luxemburg. 

The Chiers receives close to the fortress several mountain 
streams, which enclose on the east and south of the place a tract 
of wooded broken ground wdth deep valleys. Through the plateau 
of Mexy on the south-east passes the road to Thionville, which, 
with several windings, descends the slope of the hill and goes 
through the lower town into the fortress. The slopes of the hill 
there are very steep, and off the road are scarcely practicable, and 
thus form a serious obstacle to the approach of the fortress, added 
to which the defiles on the roads are generally effectively com- 
manded by the guns of the fortress. The road to Verdun passes 
over a plateau broken by numerous undulations, and the village 
of Cosnes may be considered its central point. Here, as well as on 
the plateau of Mexy, are many favourable positions for artillery, 
while the ground is such as to permit of approaches b}' sap only 
in the immediate neighbourhood of the fortress, within a distance 
from the foot of the glacis of about GOO to 800 paces. 

The fortress of Longwy is a bastioned hexagon, with a circum- 
ference of 2,340 metres (2,563 yards), and is provided with well- 
revetted dry ditches. The enceinte is in its essentials laid out 
according to Vauban's first system, and provided with the outsvorks, 
ravelins, and caponiers belonging to that system. On the fronts 

86996. I 


towards the plateau of Cosnes, the front of attack, three lunettes 
on a lower level are thrown out at the foot of the glacis. A large 
hornwork covers the north-east front of the fortress, and covers the 
defile of the road there, and the extensive trough-shaped valley of 
the Chiers. 

Longwy, being close to the Belgian and Luxemburg frontiers, 
and remote from the scene of the greater operations of the war, 
had but a secondary influence on the course of those operations ; 
and hence only small detachments passing by came into its 
neighbourhood before the investment and bombardment. Never- 
theless, their appearance, and the expectation of a bombard- 
ment, induced the commandant. Colonel Massaroly, to issue pro- 
clamations to the inliabitants, who were required to assist in the 
•defence of the place or to leave it. In consequence of this, many 
of them crossed over to the neutral country of Belgium. 

While the Prussians were employed in the sieges of Montmedy 
and Mezieres, they confined themselves to observing the place 
with small detachments, and occasionally operating against the 
franc-tireurs. These were in constant communication with the 
fortress, and kept the commandant informed of all the military 
movements that took place in the country round. Acting on 
news thus received, he endeavoured, with two battalions, on the 
night of the 26th to 27th December to carry off the Prussian 
detachment at Tellancourt, on the road to Verdun, and at Frenois 
la Montague to the south of it. The enterprise was much facili- 
tated by the favourable formation of the ground, and moreover 
the Prussians were actually surprised ; but, nevertheless, the 
attempt failed entirely, and the French were quickly obliged to 
fall back on the fortress, taking with them a Prussian officer and 
two men. 

The investment of the fortress was rendered very difficult by 
the immediate neighbom'hood of the frontier, especially on the 
north-west, where it is only half a mile (2^ English miles) 
distant. The government of Belgium arranged that the frontier 
there should be^ closely occupied. The investing detachment, 
consisting of infantry and cavalry of the landwehr, and barely 
sufficient as regarded its strength and composition for the purj)ose, 
was at first under the command of Major the Count von Schmettau; 
but, by degrees, the whole of the troops told off for the siege 
arrived, under the command of Colonel von Cosel, for the observa- 
tion of the fortress, and then Colonel von Krensky, chief of the 
general staff of the Xlllth army corps, took the chief command. 
He fixed his head-quarters at first in Longuyon, and subsequently 
in Cons la Grandeville. 

The siege corps had a total strength of — 

11 battalions of infantry, namely, the landwehr battalions 
of Koslin, Glatz, Miinster, Oftpeln, Neutomysl, Schrimm, 
Ostrowo, Eawicz, Anclam, and Schievelbein; 
2 squadrons of cavalry ; 

2 reserve field-batteries of the 11th Hessian regiment of 
artillery ; 


7^ companies of the garrison artillery of the guard and of 
the 4th, 7th, and 8th regiments of garrison artillery; 
4^ companies of garrison pioneers (engineers) of the 1st, 
Ilnd, Ilird, and IXth army corps. 

Major "Wolf acted as commander of the siege artillery, and the 
direction of the engineering works was entrusted to Colonel Schott, 
of the engineer staff. 

The energetic commandant of the fortress, Colonel Massaroly, 
a Gorsican by birth, impeded the advance of the siege corps to its 
position before the fortress as much as he could. Many engage- 
ments of reconnoitring parties and of the outposts accordingly 
took place, and the positions taken up had generally to be 
secured by field fortifications, barricades, and similar means 
against further attacks of the French. Thus encounters took 
place at Herserange, only half a mile (2^ English miles) from 
Longwy, in a wooded, deep, broken country on the side of the 
valley of the Chiers, and at the railway station on the south of the 
fortress, as well as at other places, generally with the object of 
impediug the works and dispositions of the Prussians. a 

By this activity the vigilant garrison obviously put many 
difficulties in the way of the execution of the necessary technical 
reconnaissances by the artillery and engineers, and delayed those 
operations, which were, moreover, not particularly easy to perform 
on account of the broken character of the ground. Nevertheless, 
they had to be undertaken in order to decide upon the front of 
attack. The decision, on this point, was to attack the fronts Y. 
and VI., and eventually to force a way into bastion VI., which was 
conveniently situated for the final operations of the attack. This 
choice was made having regard not merely to the fortifications, 
but also to the advantages above mentioned of the ground in that 
quarter, and especially to the fact that the right wing of the 
works of attack would thus rest in security on the steep slopes of 
the valley of the Chiers. 

The transport of the siege park for the artillery, and of the 
materials and intrenching tools for the construction of the bat- 
teries and trenches, and of the special equipment necessary for 
the attack, was troublesome and tedious, owing to the situation 
of Longwy off the main road. It was necessary first of all to re- 
construct the railway from Longuyon to Cons la Grandeville, a 
mile (4f English miles) to the south of the fortress, where it was 
intended to establish the principal siege park. This was done 
satisfactorily and quickly by the pioneers (engineers). The arrange- 
ment mentioned was the most advantageous for the park, on account 
of the broken ground there in front of the fortress, but the arming 
of the batteries with the guns and the conveyance of the ammuni- 
tion to them were matters of extraordinary difficulty. Bad, steep 
roads, the ground made slippery by frost, and a fall of snow, all 
contributed to this difficulty. For the execution of the works of 
the engineers there were two depots of tools established, one at 
Villers la Montague, and one behind Villers la Chevre. 

I 2 


The siege park was comprised of 

\l 24-PO^^nders 1 p^.^^^^.^^ ^^.^^^^^ 
33 12-poundersJ 

4 2 7 -centimetre mortars "| 
14 22-centimetre mortars j- French ordnance 
12 15-centimetre mortars J 

6 mitrailleurs ; 

Total 86 pieces of ordnance besides field guns. 

The artillery was brought from the stores of several fortresses, 
among others from Thionville, Metz, and Montmedy. At the same 
time, a part of the materials for the batteries was supplied from 
those places, whilst the remainder had to be prepared in the 
well-wooded country round, and brought up thence with great 

The batteries were commenced without waiting for the arrival 
of the last guns, which were delaj^ed on account of the small use 
that could be made of the railway. Besides which there could be 
no doubt that under the existing circumstances the batteries would 
be but slowly built, both on account of the difficult character of 
the soil, and of the activity displayed by the enemy. In no case 
would it be possible to build the batteries in a single night, as was 
done elsewhere. Before the batteries could be commenced, other 
technical works had to be executed. Among these the most im- 
portant were, the making of a road over the jNIont des Chats, and 
the laying of lines of telegraph from Longuyon to the head-quarters 
and to Villers la Montague. It was considered necessar}'- also to 
destroy the railway to Luxembourg, by tearing up the rails and 
blowing up a bridge. 

By the 16th January, it became practicable to proceed with the 
batteries, and their construction was completed in three nights, 
except some that were finislied subsequently. A peculiar mode of 
construction was adopted to obtain more cover and to reduce the 
chance of discovery, and this consisted in making the parapets at 
the flanks with gentle slopes which could scarcely be noticed 
at a distance. The batteries were constructed, in the following 
order : — 

Battery No. 1. Enfilading and dismounting battery, 3 24- 
pounders, against fronts VI., V., IV. 

Battery No. 2. Enfilading and dismounting battery, 3 24- 
pounders, against fronts V., IV., III. 

Battery No. 3. Dismounting and ricochet battery, 4 24- 
pounders, against bastion V. 

Battery No. 4. Dismounting and ricochet battery, 4 12- 
pounders, against ravelins, VI., V. 

Battery No. 5. Dismounting and ricochet battery, 4 12- 
pounders, against bastion VI. 

Battery No. 6. Dismounting battery, 4 12-pounders, against 
bastion IV. 

Battery No. 7. Dismounting and ricochet battery, 4 12- 
pounders, against bastions V. and VI. 


Battery Xo. 8. Dismounting and ricochet battery, 4 24- 

pounders, against ravelins V. and VI. 

-r, 1 i TVT -I o -i -n r against any sorties that 

Emplacement JSo. 1. 2 mitrailleurs ^ • i x i i.i. i. n 

-T^ ^1 J. TS.T o r. -1 -11 ■{ might be attempted by 

Emplacement No. 2. 2 mitrailleurs ,, * . '■ •' 

'- l^ the garrison. 

The batteries were situated at a distance of about 2,000 to 
2,400 paces, and from their general arrangement it appears that 
the design of the attack was to exhaust thoroughly the fronts 
selected before the final operations of the siege, and also in the 
first instance to disable as far as possible the artillery defence of 
the collateral works. 

In order to keep the garrison in ignorance as long as possible 
of what was done by the attack, and also to push on as far as 
possible the construction of the batteries undisturbed by the enemy, 
which was very difficvilt, the fortress was slielled from several 
points on the ground around it. For this purpose the field 
batteries present with the siege corps on the IGth to 1 9th January 
took up 230sitions well covered by the ground opposite the fortress 
and threw rapidly several rounds of shell into it, with a view of re- 
tiring again as quickly as they had come up. This bombardment with 
field guns was not witliout effect. The shells burst here and there 
in the town, spread alarm and dismay among the inhabitants, and 
kept the garrison under arms till they were weary. No important 
fires were caused, but the roof of the prison and the church towers 
were pierced by shell. To obtain a secure footing as near as 
possible to the fortress, on the following night the farm PulventeuXj 
about 1,000 paces to the south of the place, was prepared 
for defence ; rifle-trenches were pushed up to the slope there, 
and were also constructed on some heights of the same kind on 
both sides of the road leading to Verdun. On the evening of the 
18th January the china factory on the west of the lower town and 
the railway station were occupied by the besiegers. 

On the 19th January, about 8 o'clock in the morning, battery 
No. 1 opened fire with siege guns ; the artillery of the garrison, 
as soon as they became aware of the state of affairs, set to work to 
increase the armaments of their works, and answered the fire with 
composure. They directed their attention chiefly to battery No. 1, 
dismounted several guns, and wounded and killed some men. 

On the 20th January, with the assistance of battery No. 2, 
the artillery of the defenders was towards evening reduced to 
silence, and the works demolished to such an extent that the enemy 
could not renew his fire during the night. A heavy fog prevented 
the contest of the artillery from being fully developed, and caused 
a long pause on both sides in the delivery of the fire. On the 
night of the 19th to 20th of January, the bridge over the river 
situated in the lower town was blown up to prevent its being used 
by the enemy for sorties. Also on the left wing of the attack, 
which contained by far the greater number of batteries, a contest 
of artillery had taken place with like vigour on both sides. 
The besiegers had carried out the plan of attack with precision, 
and had quickly produced a great effect on the front assailed. They 


did not delay to improve the advantage gained by the construction 
of a parallel by the "common sap.''-^^- This was accordingly 
done on the night of the 21st to 22nd January, at a distance 
of 1,000 paces from the fortress, and nearly as far in front of 
the batteries. The heavy frost, however, impeded this work, so 
that it was not possible on the first night to complete it to the 
prescribed profile of 4^ feet wide at the top and 3 feet at the 
bottom, with a depth of 4 feet. It was necessary to make renewed 
and continued exertions on the following day, and on the night of 
the 22nd to 23rd January, in order to execute and complete 
the parallel so as to be at all fit for its purpose, and to obtain a 
sufficiently strong parapet. 

On the 22nd January, at 8 a.m., the artillery fight was re- 
newed, the garrison and their artillery having remained quiet all 
the night, and having done nothing to interrupt the construction 
of the parallel. Batteries No. 7 and No. 8 opened fire. The results 
produced by the Prussian artillery were on the whole satisfactory. 
It should, however, be mentioned that the enemy fired for the 
most part only against battery No. 2, and towards the afternoon 
their defence became slack. In the evening battery No. 9 was 
completed in the parallel opposite bastion V., and at once armed 
with four 22-centimetre (8-66-inch) mortars, in order to fire upon 
the enemy's workmen and other troops there. During the execution 
of these batteries the garrison made a sortie and brought on a mus- 
ketry fight with the Prussian outposts, and thus interrupted the 
progress of the work for several hours. 

Jaiviiary 23. — Continuance of the fire on both sides. There 
remained no doubt but that batteries Nos. 1 and 2 annoyed 
the enemy excessively, for to-day again he was much occupied 
with them, and opened fire upon them with some pieces of artillery 
newly brought into position, particularly from some heavy mortars. 
Otherwise he kept pretty quiet ; for the duty on the ramparts, which 
were terribly injured by shell, began to be difficult. The construc- 
tion of mortar battery No. 10 for four 22-centimetre (8 '6 6-inch) 
mortars, and of mortar battery No. 11 for four 27-centimetre 
(10'64-inch) mortars, was commenced, and it was intended on the 
ensuing night to make emplacements Nos. I. and II. for mitrailleurs 
on the flanks of the parallel, so as to have these pieces near at 
hand in case of sorties against the trenches. At 8 o'clock in the 
evening fire broke out in the fortress. Although the flames were 
made the object of the fire of several batteries of the attack, yet 
the garrison managed to put them out during the night. 

January 24. — In the previous night battery No. 9 was made 
ready to fire, and about 8 a.m. the bombardment of the fortress 
was renewed as usual. The enemy replied with far less vigour than 
before. Fire again broke out in the fortress, and became at last so 
extensive that it could not be put out. • The two mortar batteries 
Nos. 9 and 10, begun the day before, were made ready to fire. Their 
construction was excessively difficult, for they had to be made 

* See Note, p. 46. 


in hard, frozen ground covered witli wood and intersected by 

As the attacked bastion, No. VI., was to be surrounded by the 
parallel, the trench had to be extended on the following night, and 
so laid out that its right flank should pass round the bastion, and 
should be only 600 paces from it. 

The preparations for carrying on this work by night were in 
hand, when a flag of truce from the fortress appeared at the out- 
posts, to enter into negotiations for its surrender. These were 
concluded in the early hours of the morning of the 25th January. 
200 garrison guns, of which many were much damaged, a quantity 
of other military stores, and nearly 4,000 prisoners fell into the 
hands of the besiegers. Among the guns captured were several 
rifled 24-pounders of the newest construction and of great range, 
which had been supplied to the armament of Longwy in conse- 
quence of the Luxembvu'g afi'air in 1867, by special orders of 
Marshal Niel, then War Minister. 

In connection with this siege, it may be mentioned that in 1792 
Longwy was surrendered to the Prussians, but was soon evacuated 
again. In 1814 it was not invested, but in 1815 it was blockaded 
by Prussian troops under the Prince of Hesse-Homburg. They 
were then forced, by repeated attacks from Thionville, to retreat, 
but returned with reinforcements, commenced a regular siege, and 
after completing the second parallel on the 18th September, com-^ 
pelled the fortress to capitulate. 


(plate xyii). 

Mezieres is one of tlie most important places in the north- 
east of France, and the point of junction of four railways, those 
coming from Givet and Charlemont, Hirson and Laon, Rethel and 
Eheims, and from Sedan and Metz, and also the place where all 
the communications by water and by land in that district meet. 

The town of Mezieres, containing 5,600 inhabitants, and with 
spacious barracks, lies on the right bank of the Meuse, which after 
making a long detour, returns and washes the place on the north 
side. On the north and south respectively are the suburbs, 
d' Arches and de Pierre. The fortress proper, which surrounds 
the town, forms a long quadrangle, about 1,000 paces (823 
yards) long and 350 paces broad, of which the north and 
south sides, being protected by the Meuse, consist merely of 
an escarp wall, flanked by round bastions, towers, and similar 
large projections. The works of the town on the shorter sides 
form a very complicated system of fortifications, with a number 
of greater and lesser lines of defence, which are only of interest 
for the engineer, and probably cannot be considered of any value 
for a siege in the present day. 

The west front is defended by two bastions, with orillons and 
with broken curtains. It is further strengthened by a ravelin and 
two counter-guards in front of the bastions, with a great hornvvork 
between them. These counter-guards, as well as the hornwork, 
have large traverses, and are in part provided ^vith. block-houses. 
Outside this fortress lies the suburb of St. Julien. The citadel, with 
its high profiles, proof against assault, at the foot of the heights 
of Bertaucourt, protects the east front. It has four whole and two 
half bastions, and is strengtliened towards the country, as well as 
to the south, by a double line of fortifications. On the ground in 
front of it, half way up the slope of the hill of Bertaucourt, which 
completely commands the fortress, a fleche has been thrust out 
with a communication covered on both sides. The small suburb 
d'Arches on the side of Charleville is enclosed by a hornwork, 
the larger one De Pierre by bastioned lines with ravelins. Both 
are provided with suitable ravelins, and are thus formidable 
bridgeheads for the massive bridges over the Meuse. The northern 
one of these has 26 arches. A quarter of an hour's walk from 
the suburb d'Arches lies Charleville, which is regularly built, and 
was formerly fortified. It contains barracks and military estab- 
lishments l^elonging to Mezieres, among which should be men- 



tioned an important small arms factory. To the eastward, on the 
plateau on the right bank of the Meuse, a work had been recently 
constructed. In Mezieres there is an engineer school, established 
a long time ago, from whence in its time have proceeded improve- 
ments in the French system of fortification. ^Many years ago it 
was of great reputation. The place was well provisioned, amply 
provided with guns and ammunition, and, as the most northern 
fortress on the Meuse, was by a decree of the Emperor put into a 
state of siege at the first outbreak of the war. The open town of 
Charleville was partly barricaded, and on the north was protected 
by several small field works. 

The coarse of the events of the war brought jMezieres unes- 
pectedly into immediate contact with the enemy, as it lay in the line 
of operations of the army of Marshal MacMahon, which, at the end of 
August, in attempting to relieve jMetz, found itself, by the exten- 
sion of the German armies, forced into the small space between the 
line Sedan-Mezieres and the Belgian frontier. In consequence, 
Mezieres served as the point d'appiu of the right wing of the 
French position. When the army of MacMahon advanced, a part of 
that force was sent from Chalons to Sedan by the Eheims-Mezieres 
railway, while Yinoy's corps followed in reserve, and hardly com- 
plete in its organisation, being formed of gardes mobiles and 
depot battalions, only reached Mezieres on the 31st August. Here 
General Vinoy found his communication with MacMahon already 
broken, and he consequently, with the consent of the war minister, 
began to retreat on Paris. During the battle of Sedan, the Royal 
"VViirtemberg division was charged to take up a position at Bertau- 
court, opposite Mezieres, and to observe the place. Accordingly, 
at break of day on the 1st September, a pontoon bridge was 
thrown over at Xouvion, and was crossed by jjart of the division, 
in order that they might at the same time take up a position in 
readiness for the battle in the neighbourhood of Donchery, while 
the 1st jager battalion remained on the bridge and furnished 
patrols opposite Mezieres. In the afternoon the French came out 
of Mezieres towards Nouvion with two battalions, two squadrons, 
and four or six guns, and were subsequently driven back through 
Ayvelles into the fortress, after a short engagement of mus- 
ketry and artillery by the 8th regiment, a squadron of dragoons, 
and the 7th field battery, who had fallen back from the main 
body of the division to the position of the bridge. Two com- 
panies of jiigers, and a squadron, co-operated with these movements 
on the right bank of the ^leuse. The detachment bivouacked 
on the night of the 1st to 2nd September, at Ayvelles. 

On the 2nd September two squadrons of the 6th Prussian 
cuirassiers, under the command of Captain the Count Monts, 
were sent forward to reconnoitre opposite Mezieres, and that 
officer on this occasion treated with the commandant. Count 
Monts, and also on the following day First Lieutenant the Baron 
von Reitzenstein, were fired at in returning from the fortress. 

After the battle of Sedan there was a kind of armistice for 
Mezieres, whilst the fortress, at the instance of the Commander- 


in-Chief of the French, Greneral Count von Wimpffen, supplied 
provisions from its stores for the French prisoners, and permission 
had to be given for these provisions to be forwarded by the rail- 
way to the neighbourhood of Donchery. Subsequently, railway 
trains with wounded, who were sent through Belgium, were allowed 
to pass unimpeded through the rayon of the fortress, and for this 
reason, apparently in recompense, the Germans abstained for the 
time from further hostile measures against the place. 

The country round Mezieres is cut up by hills, valleys, and 
woods, and is much built over, and, being conveniently near the 
French frontier, was frequently the scene of the operations of 
bands of francs-tireurs, supported directly, or indirectly, by the 
fortress. They fired at railway trains carrying the wounded, 
and at the end of October they surprised a Prussian provision 
train, and also a patrol of thirty cuirassiers reconnoitring 
at Olicy, of whom they seem to have killed the greater number. 
These circumstances made it difficult to operate against the 
fortress, as was now necessary. On the advance of the 1st army 
from Metz to the west of France, the 1st infantry division was sent 
forward, at the beginning of November, towards Mezieres to 
cover the right flank, and towards the end of that month it was 
relieved by the force under Greneral Schuler von Senden (the line 
brigade of the division previously commanded by General von 
Kummer. A strict blockade of the fortress was not then con- 
templated, but detachments of the force mentioned had frequent 
encounters with the franc- tireurs. A band of the latter was sur- 
rounded in the neighbourhood of Fagnon, a mile (4f English miles) 
south-west of Mezieres. The commandant of the fortress. Colonel 
Vernet, caused a sortie to be made against them on the 14th 
November, but these troops were driven back into the place. 
Another band of franc-tireurs had been driven back in a north- 
westerly direction from the fortress towards Rocroy, and had made 
choice of the village of Harcy for their abode. The Prussians 
reached them there, and dispersed them. 

Subsequently the force above mentioned marched away to the 
westward. After the capture of Montmedy, the bombardment 
of Mezieres followed in due course. Part of the 14th division 
took up a position against it, and in doing so engaged the franc- 
tireurs on the 22nd December at Nouzon, a mile (4f English miles) 
north of Mezieres, and at Eigmogne. After completely investing 
the fortress, and having incessant small fights with the franc- 
tireurs roaming about on the north of it, the preparations for 
bombarding the place were commenced. 

The siege corps was under the command of Lieutenant-General 
von Kamecke up to the 25th December on which day he was 
ordered away to take over the supreme direction of the engineer 
operations in the attack on Paris. He was accordingly replaced 
before Mezieres by Major-Greneral von Woyna II., commanding 
the 28th brigade of infantry. This officer completed the artillery 
arrangements for the attack, so far as to place the field batteries 
in covered emplacements on the north and west, so as to fire upon 


Charleville according to the preconceived design. Head-quarters 
were in Boulzicourt, a mile (4f English miles) south of Mezi^res, 
on the right bank of the Meuse. The artillery consisted of 18 
companies of garrison artillery of the East Prussian, Brandenberg, 
Lower Silesian, Ehenish, Hanoverian, and Hessian regiments of 
artillery, with a siege park composed of 26 long 24-pounders, 11 
short 24-pounders, 32 12-pounders, 4 rifled 21-centimetre 
mortars, 7 heavy and 3 light French mortars, and 5 field bat- 
teries, of which three were heavy and two light. Besides these 
there were before the fortress 4 companies of garrison pioneers 
(engineers) of the 1st, Ilnd, IVth, and Vllth army corps, the 2nd 
and 3rd companies of field pioneers (engineers) of the 7th West- 
phalian pioneer battalion, 2 pontoon columns of the 1st and Vllth 
army corps, and the column of intrenching tools of the Vllth 
army corps. 

Colonel Meissner commanded the siege artillery, Colonel 
Kiedel the engineers. The principal park of artillery and the 
laboratory were three quarters of a mile (3^ English miles) south 
of the fortress at the Pouderie Imperiale, between the railway 
and the high road to Boulzicourt. Two other small parks were 
established at Lumes, a mile (4|- English miles) south-east of 
Mezieres, on the right bank of the Meu?e, and at Warnecourt, a 
mile and a quarter (5 "9 English miles) south-west of the fortress 
on the road to Paris. 

The peculiar situation of the fortress was unfavourable for the 
attack. It was surrounded by the Meuse on three sides, and thus 
gained considerable defensive strength, especially in time of floods, 
which at this late period of the year were to be expected. 
Close reconnaissances, however, led to the conclusion that the 
principal attack should be directed against the front of the 
fortifications of the bridgehead De Pierre, but that this should 
be supported simultaneously by batteries on the right bank of the 
Meuse, making partial use of the range of heights there. The 
siege batteries on this side, fourteen in number, and the five field 
batteries, were, in conformity with this plan, to counter-batter or 
destroy chiefly the fortifications of the bridgehead, and in rear 
of it the lines on its flank, the citadel, and the interior of the 
town of Mezieres, and to enfilade the two bridges over the Meuse 
that were within range. The open town of Charleville lying be- 
hind would only be shelled in case it took an active part in the 
defence. It was intended up to this time to do no more than 
threaten it with artillery. 

The construction of the batteries was carried out in the period 
from the 24th to the 30th December inclusive. The works were 
but little interfered with by the enemy, and were pushed on by 
day, partly by making use of existing cover. The hard frost 
that had penetrated the ground to a depth of 1^ feet was, how- 
ever, a cause of delay. Pepeated demands made to the com- 
mandant to surrender had not the smallest result. 

On the 31st December at 8 a.m. the bombardment began, and 
the rule was laid down that by day five rounds should be fired 


per gun per hour, and three rounds per mortar ; wliile by night 
each gun was to fire one round, and each mortar one round every 
two hours. 

On the Prussian side the battle of artillery was waged with 
great composure and with manifest results. The French artillery 
of the garrison replied with 18 to 24 guns, and endeavoured 
during the night to strengthen their ramparts, and to bring fresh 
guns into action. 

On New Year's day, 1871, at 11 o'clock in the morning, the 
white flag was hung out, and a capitulation was concluded at 
11 o'clock the same evening. The fortress was occupied by the 
Prussian troops at mid-day on the 2nd January. They took 98 
officers and 2,000 men jirisoners, and captured 106 guns, and 
many stores and provisions. 

The bombardment, though it had only lasted twenty-se\'en 
hours, had however produced a terrible effect, as was shown chiefly 
by the ruins and the heaps of rubbish. To remain on the ramparts 
had become impossible, and in tlie town fire broke out after five 
rounds, and could not be comiDletely extinguished. In the bom- 
bardment which the Prussians had directed against Mezieres in 
1815, when the fortress fell for the first time, and after some 
weeks the citadel also, the cathedral had remained uninjured ; but 
on this occasion the altar was struck by a Prussian shell, and was 
completely destroyed. 

Subsequently a rumour was spread that the commandant had 
been induced to surrender by the dread, on accoimt of both the 
town and the fortress, of the explosion of the powder magazine. 
For the honour of the French commandant, we can give no 
credit to this statement. 

With the capture of the fortress a second unbroken line of 
railway was gained, through Metz and Mezieres to Paris, and the 
principal head-quarters of the operations of the franc-tireurs in 
the Ardennes was taken from them. 



of thje^ 





'|./.?|;firT • ^ 

Sc^ So^ 7aM Aug Suy 

rr . ' ^.v^ --v^..- : TM ^*~ '^^^T:^ 





(plate XVIII.) 

Paris, with its 1,850,000 inhabitants, is the centre of the 
business, the manufactures, and the finance of France, and even 
on these grounds is the capital of the country. Eight rail- 
ways, numerous high roads, water communication of every de- 
scription, form its means of intercourse with the other chief 
business towns. The circumference of the city is six or seven 
leagues, and the total length of its streets a hundred miles (468 
English miles). 

The Seine, 200 to 300 paces broad, and spanned by 21 bridges, 
divides the town into two unequal parts. The fortifications 
consist of the enceinte, which comprises 98 bastions, generally 
very spacious, with revetted ditches 35 paces wide, but without 
ravelins. In this rampart tliere are 47 gates, 14 sally-ports, 10 
openings for railways, 4 for water-communications. The terre- 
plein, or military road passing along and within the line of the 
bastions, is paved ; near and in some parts parallel to it runs the cir- 
cular railway, which connects the railway stations with one another, 
and Vas of great use for the armament and defence of the fortress. 

Round this inner line of works, at a distance of 2,500 to 3,500 
paces, runs the outer line, the circumference of which amounts to 
12 leagues. It consists of a circle of 15 detached forts, whose 
distance apart is on the average 3,500 paces ; they cover by their 
fire a space about 1 8 leagues round. The north and north-east 
fronts are the strongest. 

The north front commences with St. Denis, the key of the outer 
line, around which are the forts De la Briche, Double Couronne 
du Nord, and De I'Est ; these three works are connected by a wall 
and ditch, and are moreover specially strengthened by an inundation, 
controlled by sluices on the swift-running stream of Rouillon, and 
which again is covered by the redoubt of Stains. Railway and road 
embankments, lines of canals, many villages built solidly and easily 
adapted for defence, wooded heights, and the inundation above 
mentioned, which may be positively relied upon, give to this tract 
of ground great capabilities of defence. South of the railway lead- 
ing to Soissons, and east of the canal of St. Denis, lies Fort d'Auber- 
villiers. The parts of the canal from St. Denis and Ourcq lying 
in rear of this fort are provided with parapets and small flanking 

South of the canal of Ourcq and the road to Metz, on the 
heights of Belleville and Pantin, lies the important fort of Remain- 


ville, which is connected with the canal by lines en cremaillere 
along the slope of the hill. The crest of the plateau of Eomain- 
viUe is crowned by the three forts Noisy, Eosny, and Nogent, in the 
intervals between which the redoubts Noisy, Montreuil, Boissiere, 
and Fontenay, are judiciously placed. 

At this point terminates a section of the defences formed by 
the Marne, a river of the width of 1 00 paces, and this section is 
in addition protected at the south-east angle by a line of fortifica- 
tions 2,800 paces long ; the redoubts De la Grravelle and De 
la Faisanderie, placed on its flanks, impart to it considerable 
powers of resistance. The well-kno-^ni fortified castle of Vin- 
cennes serves as a keep to this work, and is sm-rounded by a park 
of the same name ; there is also here the great arsenal and the 
artillery practice ground, which extends to the Marne. Fort 
Charenton, in the angle formed by the Marne and the Seine, forms 
the southern termination of the defences of the north-east front. 

The southern front of the outer line of defences commences on 
the left bank of the Seine, opposite Fort Charenton, with Fort 
Ivry, and thence is continued on a hilly, wooded plateau, inter- 
sected by ravines, by forts Bicetre, Montrouge, Vanvres, and Issy, 
the last commanding the Seine ; in front of the last thi-ee lie the 
heights of Bagneux, Clamart, Meudon, and Chatillon, which be- 
came of such importance during the siege. The forts command 
the railways to Sceaux and to Versailles. 

The west front is bounded by the Seine and the Bois de Bou- 
logne, and is defended by the fortress of Mont Valerien, which 
stands at a height of 415 feet above the river. This work is at 
distances of 1^ miles (7 English miles) and 1 mile (4f English 
miles) respectively from the forts on either side, namely, St. 
Denis and Fort d'Issy. The course of the Seine from Fort Issy 
to the fortifications of St. Denis confers upon this portion of the 
city of Paris great defensive strength. 

As the forts were built almost all at the same time, they 
have on the whole been treated almost alike as regards their 
defensive details ; they have a bastioned trace, revetted ditches, 
similar arrangements of the communications within and with- 
out, and ramparts of almost the same very substantial profile. 
They are all rendered quite proof against assaidt, and furnished 
with the requisite powder magazines. Bomb-proof cover for the 
garrisons is provided partly in casemates under the ramparts, in 
the cm-tains and flanks, and partly in keeps and barracks apart ; 
where necessary, cavaliers are added to obtain a better view 
of the ground in front. There are no ravelins ; for this reason 
the more important forts have hornworks in front of them, 
for the greater security of the front of attack. The interior space 
and extent of the forts vary according to the importance of the 
work they are designed to perform, and the size of the garrisons 
allotted to them ; the largest is the fortress of Mont Valerien, 
which has a base of some 500 paces, and the least has a base 
of about 300. Some of the prominent features of the forti- 
fications of Paris, with reference to their general arrangement and 


to the various points of attack, are mentioned further on in their 
proper places. 

Excitement and agitation spread through Paris on the re- 
ceipt of the news of the retreat of the French armies, which 
became necessary after the engagements at Spicheren, Weissem- 
bom-g, Worth. The order was given to call out the national 
guard and the garde mobile. In the former were i^laced all 
citizens between 30 and 40 years of age, and in the latter 
those under 30. The populace of Paris showed signs of a dis- 
position to revolt. The issue of bank notes rose to a total 
of 2,400 million francs. The governor, Greneral Baraguay 
d'Hilliers, declared the town in a state of siege, in order that 
he might be aided by the rigour of martial law in putting 
the fortress in a state of defence. This entailed serious inter- 
ference with the daily avocations of the citizens, but was recog- 
nised as necessary, as no preparations had been made during 
the long peace, either in the place itself or in the detached 
forts. Attention was first bestowed upon the safety of the town 
itself. There was indeed a revetted enceinte with a ditch in 
existence, but the protection of the gates and entrances of the 
openings for railways and canals had in great part to be provided 
for. The ditches were, for the sake of the traffic of the city, 
crossed in some places by bridges, in others by embankments. 
These communications, as well as in some places the profile 
of the ditch, required radical reconstruction to put them in a 
secm-e state of defence. The gateways were reduced to the smallest 
number the traffic would allow, the drawbridges were hung and 
made passable, the number of railway openings was reduced as 
far as practicable, and they were covered by traverses. Barricades 
were prepared, as far as the traffic permitted, in the avenues De la 
Grande Armee, Du Roule, and other jolaces, and openings that 
could be closed were left for the passage of the traffic. The 
openings of the underground canals and aqueducts at Asnieres and 
and at the Aqueduct d'Huys were covered with gratings or closed, 
and dams were prepared at suitable points on the Seine, as well as 
at the Viaduct d'Auteuil and at the Port Napoleon, in order to 
supply the ditches of the fortifications with water. Earthworks, 
constructed for the purjoose, protected these dams from destruc- 
tion by distant artillery fire. On the west, north, and east fronts 
ten bomb-proof powder magazines were formed with walls six feet 
thick, with coverings of strong timbers, and completely covered 
up with earth. At the same time that this was done the spaces 
around the fortresses were cleared, a measure which, in spite of the 
strict law on the subject existing in France, was necessary, and 
was remorselessly executed. Buildings and hedges were demolished, 
and ditches, banks, &c., affi^rding cover to the enemy, were so 
sloped off as to be grazed by the line of fire from the ramparts. 
Where necessary, the entrances into the fortifications were protected 
by earthworks thrown up in front against the fire of the enemy, 
so as to render them more thoroughly defensible. The communi- 
cations from the fortress were made impassable for a long distance, 


by tearing- up the causeways, by destroying bridges, and erect- 
ing barricades. A part of the iron -plated gunboats, armed 
each with one heavy gim, originally intended for the Ehine, 
was allotted to the defence of Paris and for operations on the 
Seine ; they were commanded by naval officers, and manned by 
marines, and special districts and stations, well protected, were 
assigned to them. Thus some were in the upper Seine under the 
fire of forts Ivry and Charenton ; others, between Meudon, Sevres, 
and the island of Bellevue, at St. Cloud and Suresnes ; and others 
on the lower Seine, under the gims of the defences of St. Denis. 

The manoeuvring of the gunboats was much interfered 
with, in spite of their small draught, by the shallowness of the 
water, and subsequently by the breaking up of the ice on the Seine. 
Escepting steamboats of some use in the defence, all the boats 
available for ferrying purposes were sunk in the Seine or the Marne. 

The inundation of the east front of the defences of St. Denis 
was forthwith carried out, because it was always believed in Paris 
that an enemy would only have to choose between the front of St. 
Denis-Pantin and the front Eomainville-Charenton. French military 
writers disputed only on this point, whether the one or the other 
was the key of Paris : no thought was bestowed on any other front 
of attack but these two. Great importance was attached to 
strengthening the ground in front, the sole point in dispute 
among French military writers ; let us accordingly commence 
our description on the south. In front of the line of defence 
in tliat part, between Fort d'Issy and Fort Bicetre, there runs 
a range of woody heights, over which are scattered villages, 
parks, and coimtry houses. As the defences were designed in 1840, 
these heiglits were beyond the range of the guns of the period, and 
this was the reason that they were not considered. Since the in- 
troduction of long-range rifled ordnance, however, detached ele- 
vated spots, which look into the forts and hollows, have become 
dangerous. At the same time, therefore, that the place was put 
into a state of defence, as above-mentioned, the erection of de- 
tached works was undertaken, of which we name only the most 
important : — 

1. A group of field-works on the ground in advance and to the 
west and south of Mont Valerien, namely, the Miihlen and Wolfs- 
gruben redoubts, and the lunette of Suresnes. 

2. A work at ]Montretout, immediately above the railway 
station of St. Cloud. 

3. A work between forts Issy and Vanvres. 

4. A redoubt by the side of the porcelain manufactory at 
Sevres, afterwards called the Kronprinzen-Schanze. 

5. A work to the southward of Sevres, afterwards called the 

6. A redoubt in the park of Meudon. 

7. A work at Notre Dame de Clamart. 

8. A work at Moulin de la Tour, afterwards called the Baiern- 

The last two entrenchments were situated upon spots com- 
manding forts Issy, Vanvres, and Montrouge. The ramparts of 


these forts were raised about 2 metres to prevent the enemy seeing 
into them. 

9. A smaller work at the hamlet L'Hay for the defence of the 
ground in front of Villejuif and the Fontainebleau road. 

10. The works of Chatillon and Clamart, and of Villejuif, with 
a defensible communication to Fort Bicetre. 

11. A work 1,000 paces to the west of Villejuif, and south- 
west of F'ort Bicetre ; this was originally open at the gorge 
and was afterwards converted into a redoubt. The technical 
execution and arrangement of this work was praised as being 
a model, and we give, therefore, some details of its construction. 
The entrenchment was traced as a five-sided redoubt, with a ditch 
and parapet of a strong profile, and with a bastioned gorge. The 
casemates for the accommodation of the soldiers were placed 
imder the ramparts, and constructed of wood, and their roofs were 
formed of railway iron. All the ramparts were arranged for 
artillery defence, and they had numerous hollow traverses, 
which served for cover for various purposes. The ditch was 
flanked partly by caponiers built of timber, partly by a loopholed 
wall, which ran along the foot of the counterscarp and likewise 
served as a palisading. 

12. A terraced work in tiers at Cachan for eight guns to fire 
upon the valley of Bievre. 

13. The defences of Vitry, with a communication attached 
leading to Villejuif, and communications to the rear to Fort Ivry, 
and as far as the Seine. 

14. Works of defence at Bercy, where the Seine passes into 
the fortress, and at Point du Jour, where it passes out of the for- 

15. Works to strengthen the position in front of Fort Vin- 
<;ennes, and the advanced position on the Marne peninsula. 

1 6. Defences of Mont Avron, consisting of batteries, rows of 
musketry trenches, and arrangements for the defence of the net- 
work of buildings ; the object was to take in flank the position of 
the blockading force on the east. 

17. The defences of the position of La Courneuve, Le Bom'get, 
and Drancy, where the roads had been made defensible : the places 
named had been fortified, and an independent earthwork had been 
constructed to serve as a keep to the whole. 

18. A redoubt at Pierrefitte, northward from St. Denis, to fire 
upon the roads to Calais and Amiens and the railway to Creil. 

19. A redoubt at Colombes, to command the peninsula of 
the Seine at that place. 

20. An entrenchment between Billancourt and the Seine, for 
the defence of the passage of the river there in case it should be 

21. Barricades in Billancourt, and the reconstruction of a 
covered trench to Fort Issy, in connection M'ith which it was neces- 
sary to establish a means of communication over the Seine ; a similar 
means of communication existed from Fort Charenton over the 
Marne to the Champ des ^Manoeuvres. 

36996. K 


A great number of batteries were also constructed and secured by- 
special means, such as musketry trenches and defensible communi- 
cations, of which here only the principal ones will be enumerated. 

22. Batteries at St. Quen, westward of Courbevoye, for the 
defence of the Nanterre peninsula ; these were intended, in conjunc- 
tion with the work at Colombes, to fill up the great gap in the de- 
fences between the fortifications of Mont Valerien and St. Denis. 

23. Batteries on the heights of Argenteuil. 

24. Batteries on the flank of Villejuif, and at the mill of 

25. Batteries on the Marne peninsula, which in conjunction 
with forts Charenton and Nogent fired over the ground round 
Champigny and Champignolles. 

26. Batteries at Drancy and Courneuve ; these were to fire over 
the flat ground in front on both sides of the road to Lille. 

The greater part of the works mentioned were executed during, 
or at the end of the defence, according as it became practicable 
at various periods to complete the circle of the French fortifica- 
tions ; for there was no other opportunity of producing much real 
effect on the defence. 

Much astonishment was occasioned by the abandonment of the 
defence of Fort Vincennes from the very beginning ; as the reason 
for this remarkable course, the unsatisfactory structural condition 
of the buildings there for defensive purposes was assigned, and 
also the necessity for retaining the work in use as a prison. 

The ground in front of Paris is extraordinarily favourable in 
general for the construction of fortifications, and was taken advan- 
tage of for defensive works of every description : for musketry 
trenches — sometimes in a simple form, sometimes in successive 
tiers — for defensive communications between the several points 
important for the defence, for the conversion into defensible posts 
of walls and enclosures, of which a detailed list would here oc- 
cupy us too long. The French understood thoroughly how to bring 
such works into connection both with the older and with the more 
recently constructed systems of defences, and thereby to prepare to 
the best advantage the defensible positions on the ground in front 
for a step-by-step defence, and for an astonishing increase in 
the number of guns in position. The gangs of men employed in 
the execution of these works could not be engineer-soldiers ; men 
of the civil population of suitable trades were employed for this 
purpose, and no arms were given them, since, as is well-known, 
there were none to spare, especially at the beginning of the siege. 

Abundant and extensive use was made of obstacles for prevent- 
ing the ajDproach of the enemy, such as abattis, trous-de-loup, 
wire fences, land and water torpedoes, &c., in every place where 
they could be applied, in front of all trenches, batteries, and 
minor defences. A peculiar description of ground torpedoes was 
discovered in the captured forts ; they were exploded by friction, 
caused by the pressure of the foot driving in a hammer ; they 
must have been intended for use against columns of assault, and 
for the defence of the breach. 


It is not to be denied that General Trochii — whose head-quarters 
were at the hotel of the President of the Council — arranged for the 
construction of the defences and for the other dispositions for the 
defence with great ability and energy. His Chief of the Staff was 
Gfeneral Schmidt, with Greneral Foy as an assistant. General 
Trochu is the more deserving of credit for this, since he must have 
been actively and usefully employed on a multitude of internal ar- 
rangements, which equally demanded prudence and thought. The 
measure, not recognised by international law, for the ruthless 
banishment of all Germans settled in Paris or in France emanated 
from him. He ordered the removal of the boards of railway 
directors, and other civil authorities unnecessary in a siege, as well 
as the transfer of the art treasures in the museum of the Louvre 
to provincial towns. The seat of government had been pre- 
viously moved to Tours. All who could not show that they had 
means of existence, or who disturbed the public order, or who in 
any way endangered the safety of persons and property, were com- 
pelled to leave Paris. General Trochu instituted a committee of 
defence, which consisted, with himself as chairman, of Marshal 
Vaillant, Admiral RignaultdeGenoully, Jerome David, the Minister 
of Public Works, and the Generals of Divisions, Chabaud la Tour, 
Guiod, D'Autemarre, D'Erville, and Soumaine. The plan of de- 
fence, which the governor intended to follow in case of a siege, 
was in the main as follows : — 

First Circle of Defence. — Marshal Vinoy, with his corps and 
the survivors of MacMahon's army assembled at Laon, defended 
the position at Argenteuil : General Mellinet occupied the position 
at Sceaux-Bourg with some regiments of the line and newly formed 
troops ; the provincial garde mobile, with some line regiments, 
were at Noissy-Villiers. A cavalry corps was placed at Bourget, 
eastward of St. Denis. 

Second Circle of Defence. — This included the defence of tlie 
forts which were occupied by gardes mobiles and by marine artil- 

Third Circle of Defence. — This comprised the defence of the 
enceinte, which was strengthened in rear by preparing the streets 
and buildings lying near for defence. Much assistance was derived 
from the circular railway, which was very advantageous for mili- 
tary purposes. It should be observed that this railway rendered 
most remarkable service in the prej)aration of works and arma- 
ments, in the conveyance of great quantities of materials, such 
as timber and earth for increasing the thickness of parts of the 
ramparts, and the construction of nimierous traverses and bomb- 
proofs, as well as in transporting troops at a subsequent period. 

Fourth Circle of Defence. — To this belonged the interior 
defence by means of barricades, dividing the streets into sections, 
and by the system of street-defence, projected and executed by the 
Emperor Napoleon for street-fighting. It cannot be denied that 
the fundamental idea of this system of defence was well considered, 
and it woidd perhaps have fulfilled the expectations entertained of 
it, if the course of events had been such as to require a step-by- 

K 2 


step defence, and if tliey had had well disciplined troops available 
in Paris. 

On this point it remains to be stated that the particulars 
of the strength and composition of the army of Paris have varied, 
and no approximation to accuracy has been attained. The original 
garrison of Paris was in part reinforced by the addition of the 
4th battalions of the field regiments. After the battle of Sedan 
there came from the north, from the neighbourhood of Mezieres, 
Vinoy's corps, strengthened by the survivors of MacMahon's army 
and the garrison of the camp at Chalons, as well as probably about 
100,000 men of the army of Lyons. Moreover, 20,000 labom-ers 
were formed into battalions. In the middle of September, some 
time before the investment, the strength of the army amounted to — 

Kegulars 80,000 men. 

Parisian Garde Mobile and Garde Nationale . 100,000 men. 

Free Corps 10,000 men. 

Garde Mobile from other places . . . 60,000 men. 

Total 250,000 men. 

Further levies from classes whose age did not exempt them from 
service, however, brought the army up to nearly double this 
strength, or 500,000 men. A Polish legion, composed of men 
belonging to that nationality, thovigh not actually under that 
title, and an Engii&h-North-American legion placed themselves 
at the disposal of the committee of defence. The Polyteclmic 
school fiunished skirmishers, and the artillery for regular duty 
in the garrisons of bastions 86 and 87 of the enceinte. 

The Paris garde mobile and garde nationale were divided into 
four divisions, whose head-quarters were situated in the Palais 
Eoyal, the Conservatoire, the Elysee, and the Luxembourg Palace. 
The hap-hazard formation of this army, the lack of good military 
training and discipline, their ignorance of the mode of handling their 
arms, above all, the want of capable officers and non-commissioned 
officers made the army of Paris unfit for great enterprises, so that 
their nmnerical superiority over the comparatively weak German 
army of investment conld not give rise to any difficulty. General 
Trochu made proposals to recall the army of Bazaine for the 
defence of the capital, which were at first approved, but could not 
afterwards be carried out, because the Marshal was shut up in 
Metz ; General Trochu protested against the marching away of 
MacjNIahon's army to the north, but without result. 

During the progress of the siege, however, the condition of 
the garrison improved, since to their numerical strength they 
added internal cohesion and tactical skill. The garde nationale 
and garde mobile were obliged to drill thoroughly, and were 
made acquainted with the duties on the defences, which required 
daily 70,000 men. In the middle-of October we find the " ordre 
de bataille" as follows: — Commanding-in-Chief, General Trochu; 
Chief of the General Staff, General Schmitz ; of the Artillery, 
General Goyo ; of the Engineers, G eneral Chalaaud la Tour ; In- 
teudant General, Wolf. 


First Army. — General Clement Thomas, CommandiKg ; Chief 
of the Staff, Colonel Montagut ; 266 battalions of sedentary 
National Guard. 

Second Army. — General Ducrot, Commanding; Chief of the 
Staff, General Oppert, 

1st Corps. — Three divisions. General Blanchard ; Chief of the 

Staff, Colonel Filippi. 
2nd Corps. — Three divisions. General Renault; Chief of the 

Staff, General Forri Pisani. 
3rd Corps. — Two divisions of infantry, a division of cavalry. 
General d'Exea ; Chief of the Staff, Colonel de Belgarie. 

Third Army. — General Vinoy, commanding. Six infantry 
divisions, including the marines, and two cavalry brigades. 

The defence of the enceinte was divided into nine sections, 
named after the suburbs in front of them ; each was placed under 
the command of a General of Division, or Vice-Admiral, whose 
staff was complete in all arms and branches. The garrison of 
these sections consisted of national guards — generally 25 to 40 
battalions to each, according to the number of bastions included 
in it. Strict instructions and regulations were issued for the 
guards at the gateways and sally-ports, and for the duty on the 
ramparts of the bastions. 

Neither the casemates in the town of Paris, nor tlie bomb- 
proofs in the bastions could accommodate the whole of this 
numerous garrison. A great part of them went under canvas at 
Meaux, in the Bois de Vincennes, and in the Bois de Boulogne, 
as well as in other places, or were sheltered in tents and close canton- 
ments in the villages lying between the enceinte and the forts. 
These arrangements were constantly changed. Line troops, as far 
as possible, did duty in the forts. 

When the enormous circumference of the works to be prepared 
for defence is considered, every credit must be given to the 
engineer authorities concerned, at whose head was General 
Chabaud la Tour. This officer was a highly accomplished 
engineer, and under his direction the east front of the place, 
which is excellently defiladed, was executed in 1842-44; he 
called in the aid of civil engineers who were fit for the work, 
of whom it has, however, been recorded, that owing to their 
ignorance of military matters, a great number of demolitions 
were undertaken, which did not obstruct the approach of the enemy. 
Numerous bridges and roads were demolished, waymarks were 
removed, many tunnels and railways were destroyed, where no 
real necessity existed on any reasonable groimds. The principal 
demolitions undertaken in the immediate neighbourhood of Paris 
were as follows: — the destruction of about 60 bridges, viz., 
those at Sevres, St. Cloud, Suresnes, Bougival, Marly, St. Ger- 
main, Ouen, Le Pecq, Meaux, Esbly, Lagny, lies de Villenoy, 
Villeneuve, &c., and the blowing up of the railway tunnels at La 
Ferte sous Jouarre, Nanteuil, and of the viaduct at Chantilly. 

It is well known that Trochu issued an order for the burning 
of the forests and woods round Paris in order that the investing 


army might be deprived both of firewood for their bivouacs, and 
also of timber for the construction of their works. Thus the 
woods of Bondy, Montmorency, and St. Grratien, and the park 
of Monceaux were actually burnt down. The appearance of our 
troops on the south front, wlio there, and all round Paris, took up 
their positions with the rapidity and precision for which they 
are remarkable, prevented in great part the execution of this 
act of vandalism. Thus the large and magnificent parks of 
St. Cloud, St. Germain, and Meudon were saved. 

The artillery in the works was under the orders of Greneral 

The armament of Paris with artillery was pressed on most 
energetically, simultaneously with the preparation of the fortifi- 
cations. We give the particulars of the armaments as they have 
been made known to us in the report of the Cardinal von Wid- 
deren, and observe that they must be accepted only as a general 
statement, as continual changes took place during the progress of 
the siege. 

The armament was made up partly of heavy and partly of 
light naval guns ; in this way many smooth-bore pieces were 
brought upon the ramparts. 

1. The 98 bastions of the enceinte, each with 400 metres (438 
yards) development of front, were each to receive 8 to 10 twelve- 
pounders. The gateways and sally-ports were defended by guns of 
a greater calibre. The carriages were of cast iron. Total 1,226 

2. The armament of the detached forts is given as follows: 
Charenton, 70; Vincennes, 117; Nogent, 53; Eosny, 56; Noisy- 
le-Sec, 57; Eomainville, 49; Aubervillers, 66; Fort de I'Est de 
Saint Denis, 52; La Briche, 61; Mont Valerien, 79 ; Issy, 64; 
Vanvres, 45 ; Montrouge, 43 ; Bicetre, 40 ; Ivry, 70. 

It is to be understood that the numbers of guns mentioned 
include not only the armaments of the detached forts, but also of 
the detached outworks in connection with them, and the auxiliary 
redoubts and other defensible posts, as well as a suitable artillery 
reserve. After the occupation of the works by the Germans, it 
became evident, moreover, that the above estimates were right as 
regarded the total numbers ; we should not be far wrong in placing 
the total number of guns in Paris at about 2,000 pieces. An 
artillery park was formed in the gardens of the Tuileries. 

From these facts it is clear that the proportion of artillery in 
Paris, as in other French fortresses was everywhere ample, although 
the nature of the pieces, the variety of their construction, and the 
description of carriages may not have been altogether suitable to 
the requirements of the present time. In this respect they were 
not in France, and least of all in' Paris, so far advanced, nor so well 
prepared for the attack and defence of fortresses, as in Prussia. 
Anyone who knows the arrangements of an artillery depot, or the 
peace preparations for the artillery defence of a Prussian fortress, 
will be best able to judge what was wanted in such a case at Paris. 


Meanwhile an endeavour was made -with creditable activity, and 
with much judgment, to supply the deficiencies. As early as the 
middle of August 6,800 men (later on also women, to some extent) 
were employed in the manufacture of cartridges and case-shot. 
Considerable supplies of ammunition of all sorts were brought up 
from Toulon and Montpellier, where there are great cartridge 
factories. The large foundries and iron works in Paris were exclu- 
sively employed in preparing shot and shell, and were in some 
measure converted into arsenals. During the siege 251,572 pro- 
jectiles for cannon and 1,000,000 bullets for mitrailleurs were made 
in Paris. In the engine works of Cail locomotives were built, 
with iron plated sentry boxes for drivers and stokers, and also iron 
plated trucks, in which guns were placed. Subsequently goods 
wagons were converted to this use, and they had plating 4^ inches 
thick. The works to resist assault were armed with guns of every 
description, and this was hurried on principally at Point du Jom*, 
Auteuil, and Vaugirard. and at the detached forts. 

To supply in some measure the want of trained, expert 
gunners, marine artillery were ordered to Paris in great numbers, 
and to their soldierlike bearing and steadiness under fire all praise 
is due. 

The fire of the batteries on the works was, however, kept up 
with an inexcusable waste of ammunition, apparently according to 
no pre-arranged plan, and without skilful supervision. The cost 
of this waste of ammunition on the night of the 28th to 29th No- 
vember alone has been estimated at 120,000 thalers (^18,000). 
Frequently costly projectiles were fired at solitary patrols, and 
objects were aimed at in otlier cases without any good reason that 
could be assigned. We refer to the destruction of the mag-nificent 
palaces of St. Cloud and Malmaison, to the laying in ashes of the 
towns and numerous villas there, acts that were done by the French 
themselves in the most reckless manner. 

The garrison artillery paid not the least attention to watching 
their fire for the purpose of fixing its elevation and direction; 
similarly they appeared to profit but little by the great advantage 
they had on their side of being able to ascertain the distances accu- 
rately. Under these circumstances the possession of the best 
material was of no use to them. Nevertherless, the pertinacity 
and bravery of the garrison artillery in the working their guns 
was not to be denied, and they understood how to take advantage 
of the want of cover of their opponents on every occasion. The 
artillery fire of the forts derived substantial assistance from the 
guns which were mounted in the field redoubts in front of, 
between, and in rear of them, and in separate emplacements. 
Most of the forts were in fact connected with one another by 
a military road constructed for the purpose ; from these roads 
trenches branched out to important points, which afforded a 
favourable opportunity for bringing an unexpected fire to bear on 
the ground in front. 

During the siege particular attention was attracted to a new 
ong-ranging gun, which fired from the fortress of Mont Val^- 


rien, and strewed the batteries erected against the south front 
with its ponderous projectiles, as far as 9,000 paces to the 
westward. The French named it Sainte Valerie. The bore had 
a calibre of 36 centimetres (14| inches). The projectile weighed 
80 lbs. (82-^ lbs. English). The breech closing gear was removed 
when the fort was given up, so that the gun was unservicea])le ; it 
is now among the captured artillery at Berlin. 

Provisioning. — The chief in this department was the In- 
tendant-General of the army of Paris, Wolf. With regard to 
the provisioning of Paris, the defence committee had to solve a 
very serious problem, and they performed their task so as to elicit 
general approval. So early as about the middle of August con- 
voys of provisions ceased to be sent to the French army of the 
Rhine, since it was very well known, among those who were con- 
cerned, that their arrival at their destination was doubtful. Resort 
was then had to England, and shortly after, twenty-eight ships, 
laden with flour, left Liverpool under sail for Havre. The defence 
committee originally contemplated the provision of food for two 
million inhabitants for two months, and arranged that all the 
stocks of grain should be sent to Paris from the departments of 
the Seine and Marue, where corn is abundant, and which are also 
in other respects fertile and wealthy. This measure was proved to 
be of practical utility, and it was made more stringently operative 
by a decree to the effect that all stores, which were in the line of 
of advance of the Prussians into the country, should be, without 
exception, destroyed. The issue of the provisions took place ac- 
cording to a plan, of which the prei^aration and execution were 
undertaken by a special commission. 

The herds of cattle and sheep brought up by the Government 
were placed in the Bois de Vincennes, in the Jardin des Plantes, 
in the outer Boulevards, and in the Bois de Boulogne ; for the want 
of fodder, and from the unfavourable weather, which early became 
very cold, the cattle suffered extremely, and succumbed in great 
numbers, and latterly cows were only maintained to supply milk 
for the hospitals and for children. The Government, moreover, 
took all the care that circumstances permitted ; for the cattle were 
bought on their account, and sold, either to the butcher or the 
public, at a fixed price. Naturally, in the com'se of the siege, a 
great advance took place in the prices of all provisions, and the 
want of butter, salt, and of vegetables, eggs, and milk was much 
felt ; the flour and wine were not exhausted even in the last days of 
the siege. That people >vere driven to killing dogs, cats, and even 
rats, need not much astonish us with so large a population, which 
included a considerable number of the poorer classes; but the 
inhabitants, as a whole, must have suffered much, and it is not 
surprising that among the aged and the children a greater mor- 
tality took place than under ordinary circmnstances ; this was, 
moreover, increased by hunger and the cold of winter. The sub- 
sistence of the soldiers was naturally a great soiu-ce of anxiety ; an 
actual failure of provisions for the troops was not experienced 
during the whole siege, although at the last they were reduced to 


the consumption of horseflesh, salt meat, bread, and wine, and a 
reduction of the rations took place to 150 grammes (one-tliird of 
a pound). Prisoners and wounded, who fell into our hands in the 
sorties of December, had their rations for four or five days with 
them ; as the prisoners, however, if it was proposed to send them 
back to the fortress, preferred to remain with us, it may be con- 
cluded that the subsistence and service in the army of Paris was 
not much to their taste. 

The want of coals for fuel and for the manufacture of gas was 
much felt ; and wood also, in the later periods of the siege, was 
scarcely to be found : severe measures must have been adopted to 
secure the timber-yards and the timber in the defences from 
plunder and depredation. 

As was the case at Metz, the means of existence in Paris 
lasted some weeks longer than one was at first inclined to expect. 
What amount of provisions were actually in the to'wn on the 
19th September will never be known witli any accuracy ; at that 
time the authorities concerned apparently did not believe in the 
possibility of holding out 131 days, to the 28th January. In this 
respect the report is at length gaining credit that the stores 
originally existing in Paris, exclusive of the special provision 
made for the siege, had been seriously under-estimated ; for the 
quantity of provisions that could have been conveyed subsequently 
into the besieged place, in spite of the blockade, is not worth 
taking into account. 

The imminent failure of provisions — the actual pressure of 
hunger in the city- — was, at any rate, one of tlie chief causes of 
the commencement of negotiations for surrender ; at the time of 
the three weeks' truce, moreover, it was at its height. The stocks 
of flour and horseflesh were sufficient only for eight and fourteen 
days respectively ; and wdth regard to this, it must not be over- 
looked that the getting in of fresh supplies, which was much 
facilitated by the German army of investment handing over 
3,000,000 rations, and throwing open the roads for traffic, took 
fourteen days longer, during which time the want of provisions in 
Paris continued. It should be added finally, that at the capitula- 
tion the provisions of the garrison were not exhausted, so that a 
portion of them were available for the use of the civil population. 

Intelligence. — Very soon after the appearance of the investing 
army before Paris all further communication with the country 
outside was cut off; the last post was despatched on the 18th 
September. Subsequently an underground telegraph to Tours 
was discovered, and also another line which w^as led along the bed 
of the river Seine to Havre ; the latter w^as fished up accidentally 
at Bougival during the pontooning operations of the Prussians for 
the military bridge at that place, and it, as well as the former, was 
destroyed. A like fate befell the floating hollow balls and diving- 
machines;* the Prussians had nets spread across the stream, and 

* Taucher-boten — probably some apparatus arranged to float down with the 
stream below the surface of the water. 


caught them. Letter-carriers, disguised as sellers of vegetables, en- 
deavoured to slip through the outposts: this also was impracticable ; 
only five out of eighty-five returned ! The only road not suspected 
was that through the catacombs of Paris, but the foolhardy people 
who ventured by it perished there ; even bloodhounds undertook 
the conveyance of letters, but they also did not come back. 

The chief part in the transmission of news was played by air- 
balloons, and for their manufacture and filling special factories 
with hundreds of workmen were established at the Northern and 
Eastern railway stations ; they were under the management of 
the well-known aeronaut, Godard. A school of aeronauts was 
established ; a committee of professional and scientific persons 
devoted themselves to this business. The first voyage through 
the air, that was of any use, was made by the aeronaut Duruof 
on the 23rd September ; on the 8th October M. Grambetta followed 
him, and probably also officers, with special commissions to 
arrange for combined action with the generals commanding the 
masses of the enemy who were operating in the open field. During 
the period from the 23rd September 1870 to the 23rd January 
1871, fifty-four balloons were sent off from Paris ; they conveyed 
some persons who took charge of the balloons, and several hundred- 
weights of letters. The use of this contrivance by the public was 
regulated by special orders, and letters conveyed by balloon were 
not allowed to exceed 4 * grammes in weight. Altogether, 2,500,000 
letters, weighing about 10,000 f kilogrammes, were forwarded. 
The ascents were made from the railway stations of the Orleans, 
Northern, and Eastern railways ; from Montmartre, the Tuileries 
gardens, &c. Some balloons, moreover, strayed away to Eothen- 
burg in Hesse, to Holland, and to Norway ; of the fate of many 
others nothing was ever heard. Besides these larger air-balloons, 
there were smaller ones six to seven ij: metres in diameter, called 
ballons libres, by which letters only were sent to the care of " the 
esteemed finder." Captive balloons, with cords and ropes, hanging 
over Paris, served for observing the positions of the enemy, and 
for watching the sorties from the fortress. 

Great numbers of carrier-pigeons had been brought from 
Belgium, and the prefect of Lille sent 900 of these birds to 
.Paris just before the investment. They were generally sent 
out with the air-balloons — of course enclosed in cages — and 
were intended to bring back the answer to the balloon letters. 
These carriers, however, during the latter part of the siege, fre- 
quently failed to come in, and proved untrustworthy. Some were 
prevented from returning by the foggy weather, and some sought 
theii- Flemish homes. Of 200 carrier-pigeons let go from Paris 
only 73 got back. The despatches tied to them contained 70,000 
words, which were reduced in size by photography. The manage- 
ment of the air-balloons and carrier-pigeons was entrusted to the 
ingenious post-master, Eamport de Chin. 

* About ith part of an oz. avoirdupois, 
t About 9 tons 16 cwt. 
t 20 to 23 feet. 


Observatories were established on Montmartre, the Pantheon, 
and the towers of Notre Dame, which were chiefly employed in 
watching the flat country on the west and north-east sides. The 
forts were connected by underground telegraph with the several 
head-quarters, particularly with the Place Vendome, and also with 
one another. Besides all this, visual signals — in part also arranged 
for use at night — were used for enabling the commandants of forts 
to communicate with one another. 

From the fortress of IMont Valerien, which afforded the most 
extensive view, pre-arranged flag-signals were made ; on the side 
of the Germans it was believed that there was always a certain 
warning if a sortie was contemplated, and the attention of the 
besiegers was always doubly increased by these signals. 

By electrical light-apparatus, which was directed on the posi- 
tions of the enemy before the town, they endeavoured to observe the 
works vmdertaken there at night. An ample supply of the requisite 
material, and excellent apparatus worked by skilful operators, were 
abundant in Paris, and rendered easy this mode of illumination. 

On the German side there were told off for the investment of 
Paris the Ilird army, under the command of the Crown Prince of 
Prussia, consisting of the Vth, Vlth, and Xlth Prussian corps, the 
two Bavarian corps, and the Wiirtemberg division, about 140,000 
strong ; and the IVth army, under the command of the Crown 
Prince of Saxony, composed of the Prussian guard and IVth corps, 
and of the Xlltli (Saxon) corps, about 80,000 strong. The 
German army of investment was thus of the total strength of only 
220,000 men, for the reinforcements sent from Germany had not 
at that time arrived. 

As early as the 16th September the advanced guard of the 
German cavalry division, which had been pushed forward one or 
two marches in front of the attacking armies, appeared at Creteil, 
Nouilly, Corbeille, and Clamart. Their task was to destroy the 
telegraphs, as well as to intercept the supplies for Paris, and they 
were intended, on the other hand, to save the railways and prevent 
the demolition of the bridges ; under these circumstances there 
occurred some minor engagements with the French detachments 
sent out of the forts to reconnoitre. 

Septemhei' 17. — Nevertheless the advanced guards of the Ilird 
army found the permanent bridges over the Seine at Corbeille 
andVilleneuve-St. George destroyed. It became necessary, there- 
fore, at once to establish a new means of crossing the Seine. For 
this purpose the 5th pioneer battalion formed a pontoon bridge 
above Villeneuve-St. George at half-past 3 o'clock in the after- 
noon, which was immediately crossed by the 2nd division of 

To cover the formation of the bridge the 17th brigade of 
infantry, with two squadrons and two batteries, had taken up a 
position on the heights at Limeuil, in the direction of Boissy St. 
Legere. This detachment was attacked at 2 r.M. by six French, 
battalions and two batteries. After a severe engagement in the 


woods of Valenton the enemy fell back on Creteil, and the passage 
of the Grerman forces over the pontoon-bridge, which had been 
formed in the meantime, was not further interfered with. 

On the 18th September the Vth army corps commenced their 
march on Palaiseau and Bievre. At Dame Eose there was a slight 
engagement between detachments of the 9th division and the 
French outposts, but this did not at all delay the further advance 
on Versailles. 

On the 19th September a more serious encounter took place on 
the plateau of Petit Bicetre, and Plessis-Piquet, which had been 
carefully prepared for defence. The Eoyal Bavarian army had also 
in great part crossed the Seine at Corbeille on pontoon-bridges, and 
was on the 18th brought forward as far as the neighbourhood of 
Longjumeau and Palaiseau ; their Ilnd corps on the 19tli followed 
the Prussian Vth corps on the road to Versailles, to which place 
the head-quarters of the Crown Prince of Prussia were to be trans- 
ferred on the 20tli September. On the French side General 
Ducrot, with the 13th corps, had advanced to the road from 
Fontainebleau and Orleans, in order to prevent the occupation of 
the plateaus Clamart-Chatillon and Plessis-Piquet, which were of 
the greatest military importance. As a point d'appui he occupied 
the intrenchment of Moulin de la Tour, previously mentioned, 
which was not yet finished. On the left the French had occupied 
Sceaux ; their right rested on the park of Meudon. 

By 6 A.M. the advanced guard of the Vth Prussian corps (King's 
grenadiers, and 47th regiment) had attacked the enemy, who was 
six times stronger than themselves. At Petit-Bicetre a brisk en- 
gagement began, and was maintained with equal obstinacy on both 
sides for several hours. It did not cease until a brigade of the 1st 
Bavarian division, under Colonel Diehl, was sent forward in support. 
Later on the 10th division was directed on Villa Coublay, 
and the corps artillery was advanced. About 11 o'clock the 
enemy beat a retreat on the entrenchments of Moulin de la Tour. 
While a Bavarian bi'igade was directed on Sceaux, the 8th brigade 
of the 4th Bavarian division was sent to Croix de Bernis, the 7th 
towards Bourg ; with these movements the enemy was to be out- 
flanked. In the meanwhile, about a quarter to 12, the enemy 
again made a stand, and attacked Fontenay and Plessis vigorously. 
The fight thickened, and the artillery took a large share in it. 
The French fired with six batteries from the entrenchment 
of Moulin de la Tour, and other strongly fortified positions in 
front of and beside it, the Grermans from well-covered posi- 
tions opposite. About half-past 1 o'clock the French ventured 
an attack on the Bavarian position, and then, failing of success, 
fell back about half-past 2. The 3rd Bavarian division pur- 
sued them with the 3rd battalion of jagers, detachments of the 
14th regiment, two batteries, and a regiment of light horse, 
occupied the abandoned entrenchment of Moulin de la Tour, 
and captured there seven 12-pounder field-pieces. The French 
continued their retreat uninterrupted to Paris. The Vth corps 
had, in the forenoon, when the enemy fell back at Petit- 


Bicetre, resumed their advance on Versailles. They arrived there 
towards evening-, took 2,000 of the garde mobile prisoners, and oc- 
cupied at once the entrenchments thrown up by the French at Mont- 
retout and Sevres. The captured works at Sevres, and at Moulin 
de la Tour were henceforth named by the Germans the Kron- 
prinz, the Jager, and the Bavarian entrenchments. The YIth 
Prussian corps crossed the Seine at Villeneuve, the advanced 
guard by the bridge made by the Vth corps, the rest by one they 
had made themselves in the meantime, and went on to Orly. Its 
further advance was prevented by the fire from the lately-con- 
structed but unfinished French entrenchment at Villejuif. Towards 
evening this redoubt was occupied by the Prussians, but unfortunately 
was given up again, because it was no longer tenable in the face of 
the heavy fire from the retired positions of the French. The army 
corps placed their outposts on the line Chevilly to Choisy. 

On the evening of the 1 9th September the outposts of the Ilird 
army stood on the line Bougival, Sevres, Meudon, Bourg, L'Hay, 
Chevilly, Thiais, Choisy-le-Eoi, Bonneville, Creteil, Champigny, 
Brie ; in corresponding positions in rear, were the Vth corps, 
the 1st and Ilnd Bavarian corps, the Vlth and Xlltli corps, and 
the Wurtemberg division. 

At Les Tanneries, and in the neighbourhood of Bougival and 
Tournay, communication was established over the Seine and 
Marne respectively, by means of pontoon-bridges, with the IVth 
army. This army performed their march on Paris without meet- 
ing with any resistance; except that, between Pierrefitte and 
Montmagny, a slight engagement took place, which resulted in the 
capture, by detachments of the IVth corps, of the fortified positions 
occupied by the French. Le Bourget and Drancy remained in 
the occupation of the enemy, who did not fall back here till the 
20tli September. The outposts of the IVth army stood generally 
on the line Neuilly, Villemomble, Le Bourget, Dugny, Stains, 
Pierrefitte, Epinay, Argenteuil, Besons. The head-quarters of the 
IVth Army were in Grrand Tremblay ; those of the King in Ferrieres, 
the chateau of the Rothschilds, on the left bank of Uie ]Marne not 
far from Lagny ; from this point he overlooked the positions of 
the two investing armies. 

The machinery of government, organised and centralised in 
Paris for the whole of France, was thus thrown out of gear, and 
all communication between the army in Paris and the armies in 
the field, either investing or in process of formation, was cut oflf. 

The leader of the Grerman army had, with unerring glance, se- 
lected the south as generally the weakest front for the principal 
attack; and this on a close examination was seen to have, also 
defensively, a special cause of weakness which we will mention here. 

The fortress of Mont Valerien protects the west side of Paris. 
This work is intended not only to prevent any approach on the 
peninsula of Nanterre to the gorge of the works of St. Denis, but 
also to defend effectively the ground towards St. Cloud and Sevres. 
The guns of the adjoining work. Fort Issy, cover the bend of the 
Seine at Billancourt. But in order to strengthen the position 


protected by Mont Valerien in the direction of St. Cloud and 
Sevres, where the effective action of the fort was weakened, 
not only by the distance of 4,000 to 4,500 metres, but 
also by the formation of the ground, the work already men- 
tioned was constructed at Montretout, as soon as Paris was put 
into a state of defence. The work fell into the hands of the 
Prussians when half-finished. Under these circumstances the fort 
of Mont Valerien had to protect the ground as far as St. Cloud, 
where the duty was- taken up by Fort Issy. Eeckoning the effective 
range of the guns of the two works at 3,500 metres, there would 
remain at Sevres and Bellevue a dead space, which was of great 
advantage to us. These circumstances were favom-able for an 
approach, as secure as possible, to Fort Issy and also to Point du 
Jour. The exit of the Seine, moreover, weakens the latter point, 
which we should probably have selected, in case of need, for an 
advance on Paris. 

Viewed in this light, as the result shewed, the determination 
to take up a position on the south of the fortress and direct the 
principal attack on that side was most fortunate, and the im- 
mediate capture of the works, which had been just thrown up 
by the French in preparation for the siege, had the most im- 
portant results on the progress of the attack. 

The next step was for the investing army to establish itself 
firmly in the positions which it occupied, that not only should all 
communications be cut off between the capital and the people of 
the country, but it should also become impossible for the garrison, 
in spite of its superiority of numbers, to break through and 
establish communication with the French armies of the north 
and south, which were in process of formation or in the field ; 
that in fact the French, at every point of the girdle around them, 
might be so long held at bay as to allow the German troops to 
arrive in sufficient force to drive them back into the fortress. 
Each army corps had its own well-defined position of the circle 
of investment, which it had to occupy and strengthen by 
suitable works of fortification. The redoubts captured at 
the first onset of the Grerman army afforded a strong point of 
support, for which purpose they were turned about towards the 
enemy, the original gorge being converted into the front of the 
work, and the entrance made upon our side. At a greater dis- 
tance points of support were also found in the numerous villages, 
which from their very massive construction were well adapted for 
the purposes of defence. The approaches to the villages were, 
therefore, barricaded, the communications of every kind repaired, 
walls favourably situated were provided with loopholes and ban- 
quettes, alarm posts were established, and huts built to shelter 
those troops who were held in constant readiness. 

The principal objects during the whole of the operations of 
the investment were the construction of works for the security 
of the troops at a greater or less distance from the forts, 
and the establishment of a line of obstacles to be defended 
by musketry. This was intended to compel the enemy to deploy 


his forces as slowly as possible, and to give our troops time to 
occupy the line of works in rear. In the line of obstacles openings 
were left in case of our being able to take the offensive. The 
obstacles consisted of abattis, and the existing walls and buildings, 
which were made capable of defence. The line of defences behind 
these obstacles, and prepared in a similar manner, was principally 
occupied by infantry, owing to the ground in front not being 
generally exposed to view. According to the nature of the 
groimd, greater or smaller entrenchments were formed in this 
line of defences, and partly in front, partly in flank or rear, 
artillery emplacements were made and strongly secured by works 
to resist the sorties in force, which were to be expected sub- 

It would take too long to enumerate the several works of this 
kind in the circle of investment ; we will take, therefore, only one 
section of the ground, and select that which the Vth and Vlth 
corps had to occupy and arrange for defence. 

The Vth corps had the ground between Meudon and Bougival 
to defend. The line of obstacles in that quarter comprised the 
northern boundary fence of Meudon, was continued by rifle-pits, 
&c. round Bellevue to the Crown Prince battery, and followed 
thence the steep slope to St. Cloud, as far as the Montrecout 
redoubt, where a gap occurred for the attack of the ground in 
front of jMont Valerien. Abattis and rifle-pits crowned the heights 
of Grarches, and led on to the eastern boundary of Bougival, 
ending here on the Seine. The line of obstacles was flanked 
along its length by being broken back in some places, by block- 
houses on it and annexed to it, and by the Crown Prince and 
Montretout redoubts. The line of works in rear began in the 
east with the parks of Chalais, Meudon, and St. Cloud, which 
were arranged for defence ; a series of entrenchments led over 
the plateau of Grarches to the stud enclosure, which, as the 
centre of the position, was secured by abattis, a number of 
batteries, and self-defensible earthworks, and so on in the same 
manner to Bougival. In rear of this line, on the edge of the 
plateau towards the villages Ville d'Avray, Marnes, and Yau- 
cresson, emplacements were arranged for batteries and strongly 
defended with works. 

The Vlth corps had to cover the ground between the Seine and 
Bievre, beginning at Villeneuve-St. George, the same place where 
subsequently were the two bridges allotted for the use of the 
siege-train. Next was the northern boundary of Choisy, par- 
ticularly the churchyard, which was fortified in the most formidable 
manner, barricaded, and rendered completely secure against the 
assault of infantry. Oj)posite, lay the village of Vitry, also fortified 
by the French, and close at hand were some gunboats on the Seine. 
Further to the westward, and within our position came the vil- 
lages of Thiais and Choisy, both fortified ; opposite, but in the 
possession of the French, were Villejuif, which was also fortified, 
and a redoubt at the same place, both covered by Fort Bicetre. 
At the junction of the high roads to Versailles and Fontainebleau 


and inside the German position la}' the strongly enti'enched 
farm of La Belle EjMne, the central point of an artillery position 
containing 84 field guns, strengthened and covered by shelter 
trenches for six battalions ; and next to it, pushed forward on. 
the slope of the right bank of the Bievre, was the village of 
L'Hay with the wall skirting its edge arranged for a deter- 
mined resistance, being the point of support for a brigade. 

Opposite lay the enemy's redoubt of Haute Bruyeres (Cachan) 
covered by Fort Bicetre. The outposts of the Prussian position 
at this point were also protected by a line of obstacles with 
shelter trenches and other arrangements for defence, whilst the 
section of ground to be held was rendered secure by formidable 
fortified posts and entrenched emplacements for the employment 
of masses of artillery. 

In the low country eastward of St. Denis, where the French 
positions were protected by inundations, the Guard Corps had 
in a similar manner rendered the section from Seoran to Dugny 
impassable by damming up the Morce stream, so that only two 
narrow defiles were available, namely, at Port Iblon on the 
embanked high road of Lille, and at Aulnay. This inundation 
was defended by the strongly fortified villages of Dugny, Le Blanc- 
Mesnil, and Aulnay, which were somewhat retired, Le Blanc- 
Mesnil being the centre of the defence. Shelter trenches and 
positions for artillery were formed on the undulating ground in 
rear of the inundation, and gave a gi-eat power of resistance to 
the section of the ground. Opposed was the French position as 
described at par. 17, page 129, and, from a consideration of their 
mutual position, it is easy to understand why the village of 
Le Bourget became the object of constant attacks from both 
sides. The intended inundation of the Moree by the Germans 
would hardly have succeeded on account of the small supply 
of water, had it not received a considerable contribution by 
damming up the Ourcq canal at Sevran. This arrangement 
proved further disadvantageous to the enemy by reducing the 
supply to the St. Denis inundation and withdrawing a cer- 
tain quantity of drinking water from the inhabitants of Paris. 
The execution of this interesting work was entrusted to 
Captain von Krause of the Engineers. When the inundation 
froze during the winter it had to be broken up in a number of 

The establishment of communications by constructing roads 
for the supply and transport columns, and providing them all 
with guide posts for the information of the troops, caused con- 
siderable labour, as did also the erection of barricades of all 
sorts, and the building; of bridges and roads for the coiumunica- 
tions between the corps ; of this kind were the bridges built at 
Le Pecq, Bougival, Les Tanneries, Triel, Villeneuve, St. Georges, 
at Gournaz over the Marne, at Chatout, two at Corbeille, 
without counting many other foot-bridges over brooks and 
hollow roads. In places where it was necessary, these t*tructures 
were secured against a coup-de-main by an entrenchment. 


Later, when the winter set in, it required great care to presei've 
them, or some at least, from the floating masses of ice on the 
Seine ; a few had to be removed and the permanent bridges 
lying far in rear of the investing army to be utilized. 

With regard to the tactical considerations of the besieging 
army, it was above all things necessary to adapt the defence in 
the best manner to the peculiarities of the ground. Each divi- 
sion had about one-fifth to one-sixth of its strength on outpost 
duty. These, together with the picquets (sometimes with guns 
attached), and the supports, had fortified the particular point 
indicated to them where a stand was to be made, and had in- 
structions to receive the enemy in that position. The woods 
and undulations of the ground, which limited the field of view 
towards the enemy, made the erection of observations a necessity 
for the investing army ; one was on the Marly aqueduct which 
carries water for the fountains at Versailles over the Seine on 
36 arches at a height of 643 metres above the Seine ; this was 
often used by the Emperor-King on account of the distant view 
it commanded ; besides this there were others, viz., in the redoubt 
of IVIoulin de la Tour, at Malmaison, at Bougival, at the Lantern 
of Diogenes, in the Villa du Barry, at Sevres, at Le Blanc- 
Mesnil and other places. Semaphores also were erected for 
signalling by day and night. 

At the principal commands intelligence-bureaux were esta- 
blished, and a service for the transmission of important orders 
by mounted orderlies, organised in relays, posted partly at the 
picquets, and partly at cross roads. Independently of this, all 
divisional staffs were connected with the corps, and head 
quarter staff, by means of the field telegraph. 

As occurred before many other French fortresses, so at Paris, 
the bearers of fiags of truce were fired upon, contrary to all 
the customs of war ; this happened, for example, on the 1st of 
October to Lieutenant v. Kissing, and on the 23rd December to 
Ist Lieutenant v. XJslar. 

The destruction of the tunnel at Nanteuil, to which allusion 
has already been made, did not particularly increase the diffi- 
culties of the advance of the Ilird arni}^, but it was a serious 
obstacle in the formation of the siege parks. During its restora- 
tion, when the temporary wooden supports were nearly com- 
pleted, the whole gave way in consequence of the pressure of the 
superincumbent chalk, so that recourse had to be made to a 
branch line to turn the obstacle, which was finished in the latter 
part of November. With the fall of Soissons, a second line of rail 
became available for the besiegers on the east side, but on the 
west and north-west front the line of communication to the rear 
by Laon and Compiegne was only opened after the fall of La 

At the beginning of the siege, in consequence of the want of 

railway communication with the provision magazines in rear, 

the supply of the armies Avas a very difficult task; it required 

the greatest activity and foresight on the part of the commis- 

36996. L 


sariat officials to cany on the duty in a satisfactory manner. In 
addition to the regular service of supplies of all kinds from 
Germany, which were accumulated in the magazines in rear of 
the investing army, necessity soon required the levy of requisi- 
tions in the districts beyond the immediate neighbourhood, 
which had been already exliausted by the French. Opinions 
have been expressed very strongly against this mode of requisi- 
tioning, without recognising the laws of war by which an army 
has to support itself in an enemy's country. Requisttions of 
this sort required convoys, as not only was the populace hostile, 
but collisions with the francs-tireurs were of constant occurrence. 
The escorts for them were provided by detachments of cavalry 
accompanied by infantry on wagons. When, during December 
and January, the railway by Amiens and Laon, and the lines to 
Rouen and Orleans became available, the supply of provisions 
was an easier task ; as an illustration of the requirements, we 
may add, that the daily provision and forage transport for a 
single army corps was about 5 trains of 32 wagons each. The 
daily provision and forage supply for the armies before Paris was 
about the following : 148,000 three-pound loaves, 1,020 cwt, of 
rice or grain, 595 bullocks or 1,020 cwt. of bacon, 144 cwt. of salt, 
9,600 cwt. of oats, 2,400 cwt. of hay, 28,000 quarts of brandy. 

After this description of the circumstances of the investment, 
we shall notice next the principal sorties, and after them, the 
artillery attacks which led to the fall of the capital. 

The object of the smaller sorties was to molest and alarm our 
outposts, as well as to make demonstrations for special purposes ; 
they never caused any important interruption in the works of 
the investment or siege, and did not appear to have that pin-pose 
in view ; it was only in the last days of the siege, about the 
middle of January, that small sorties were made against 
the batteries of the attack on the south front. The sorties 
en masse, however, played an important part, having no less an 
object than to pierce the investing line, and form a junction with 
the French armies operating in the north, south, and west. 
' Such sorties were preconcerted with the commanders of the 
armies in the field, who were probably informed of the intended 
operations by means of the balloon post. We received infor- 
mation of these undertakings, days and weeks beforehand, partly 
by means of prisoners or deserters, partly also by the visible stir 
on the other side, so that we were always found prepared. These 
lengthened preparations were probably necessitated by political 
reasons, such as to tranquilize the Parisian populace, who, in 
ignorance of the true state of things, were pressing for sorties which 
could have no good result. The march of large bodies of troops 
towards the locality of the intended sortie, Avhich took place 
generally by means of the circular railway, conspicuous on its 
embankment, as well as on those sections of rail leading beyond 
the works, and the movement of the troops between the enceinte 
and the outer forts, could not escape the notice of those in the 
observatories, or in the German outposts. 


It was in consequence of the movement of troops out of Paris 
on the 1 9th of September, that St. Cloud was occupied on the 
21st of that month. 

September 23. The French undertook small reconnaissances 
directed from St. Denis against Pierrefitte, from Aubervilliers 
towards Le Bourget, and from Fort Bicetre against Villejuif. 

September 24. The outposts at Sevres and St. Cloud were 
engaged with some gunboats stationed at Suresnes. 

On September 30 there was a more considerable sortie, which 
the enemy had announced on the 27th and 28th by changes in 
the positions of the troops outside the fortress. General Vinoy 
attacked the 12th division with six battalions between Choisy 
le Koi and La Belle Epine, supported by Forts Montrouge and 
Bicetre, whilst he made demonstrations on his left wing with a 
brigade against the Xlth corps, and on his right wing with 
three battalions against the Vth corps at Sevres and Meudon. 
At Bas Meudon he threw a bridge over the Seine, The fighting 
began at 6 o'clock in the morning and turned on the possession 
of L'ELay, which was bravely defended by the 23rd regiment, 
but had eventually to be evacuated. It was soon perceived 
that the attacks on the wings were only demonstrations ; the 
Vlth corps therefore concentrated its reserves, and, supported 
by some Bavarian detachments, drove the enemy again out of 
L'Hay behind his entrenchments. General Guilhelm fell here 
and his body was handed over to the French next day. These 
estimated their loss at 1,200 men; on the German side there 
were 80 killed and 300 wounded — but 300 unwounded French 
prisoners were taken. It is not known whether the French 
intended to pierce our lines on this occasion, or only to destroy 
the passages of the Seine ; or perhaps to retaliate for the check 
they had received on the 19 th September. 

On the 3rd of October the headquarters of the King were 
removed fiom the Chateau of Ferrieres to Versailles. 

After frequent alarms on both sides, and much useless can- 
nonading from the forts, the next sortie took place on the 
7th of October; on this occasion also there were great move- 
ments of troops on the preceding day .to the entrenchments 
in rear of d'lvry and Bicetre. Probably this was only a 
demonstration. But, in the afternoon, a French force of all arms 
marched out of Fort Mont Valerien towards Hueil, returning 
towards the evening, having covered the destruction of part of 
our line of defence at Malmaison. 

On the loth October the palace of St. Cloud was set on fire 
by the guns of Mont Valerien, without any apparent reason ; the 
5th jager battalion, and the 58th regiment attempted to save 
as much as possible fi-om the flames. The same da}^ 10 French 
battalions of Blanchard's division, with cavalry and field guns, 
advanced in three columns against the position of the Ilnd Bava- 
rian corps, and drove their outposts out of Chatillon and 
Bagneux ; the enemy had his reserves in readiness behind Fort 
Montrouge, in case the capture of the heights of Chatillon and 

L 2 


the Bavarian redoubt should succeed. After a combat of six 
hours duration, in which first the 8th, and then the 7th Bavarian 
brigade took part, the enemy was driven back ^vith considerable 
loss. In this sortie, which in the French reports is described as 
an " offensive reconnaissance," the guns from the French redoubt, 
constructed on the height between L'Hay and Villejuif, gave a 
good support, and annoyed the Bavarian right flank considerably ; 
their loss was 10 oflicers and 860 men. 

October 14th. A sortie of several French battalions was re- 
pulsed by the piquets and some guns of the Xllth corps. 

At this period the 22nd division under General von Wittich, 
and the 1st Bavarian corps under General von der Tann were 
withdrawn from the investing force, in order to operate against 
the French army which had been formed in the south. On the 
other hand the guard landwehr divisions had arrived before 
Paris, and numerous changes were made in the positions of the 

In the night of the 19th-20th of October a lively fire was 
kept up by the forts, and repeated night attacks by strong 
infantry detachments were made against our outposts at Chevilly, 
that is to say, in the direction of Orleans, but without any result 

October 21st. The sortie made on this day against the Vth 
corps was preceded by a ^heavy fire from Fort Mont Valerien, 
which was continued later from the gunboats stationed on the 
Seine ; the latter fired principally against St. Cloud and Sevres. 
The following troops were drawn up under the command of 
General Ducrot : General Berthaut with 3,400 men, 20 guns, and 
one squadron, between the railroad to St. Germain and Rueil ; 
General Noel with 1,350 men and 10 guns, to operate against 
Bougival and the park of Malmaison ; Colonel Colleton with 
1,000 men and 18 guns, to keep up the communication between 
the two first-mentioned columns, and also to join in the attack 
on Bougival. Besides these there were two main columns of 
reserve, one under General Martenot with 2,000 men and 18 
guns, the other under General Paturel, consisting of 2,000 men, 
28 guns, and two squadrons. The whole, roundly speaking, 
10,000 men, 94 guns, and three squadrons, under the supreme 
command of General Ducrot, were in position an hour after 
mid-day, supported by the fortress of Mont Valerien. The attack 
was directed against the 10th division on the line Bougival, 
Malmaison, Garches. The 19th brigade formed the outposts, 
with the 46th regiment as the left wing, and the 6th regiment 
as the right ; the 20th brigade in reserve. Towards 3 o'clock 
in the afternoon four of the enfemy's battalions attacked the park 
of Malmaison ; after an obstinate fight they were repulsed by 
the 46th Regiment, two battalions of the 6th regiment, and 
detachments of the 1st guard landwehr regiment ; whilst this 
attack was in progress the enemy directed another against La 
Celle, which was beaten back by portions of the 50th regiment ; 
the oth and 6tli companies of which, assisted by some men of 


the Gth regiment, captured two guns, and brought them safely 
away, notwithstanding the heavy firing of the enemy. On the 
right wing the advanced troops oi the 9th division were engaged. 
The batteries of the IVth corps at Chatou and Besons, on the 
right bank of the Seine, co-operated with good effect towards 
the end of the fight, which terminated at 5 o'clock in a general 
retreat of the enemy towards Neuilly and to Fort Mont Valerien, 
under cover of the guns of the latter place. The troops which 
had taken part in the sortie retreated very slowly to the fortress, 
so that the Prussian detachments had to remain under arms 
imtil late in the evening. In Versailles the troops had taken 
up their defensive positions. Our losses in this combat are 
given as 15 officers and 297 men killed and wounded, whilst those 
of the enemy were 28 officers and 232 men, exclusive of 800 

A small sortie took place at the same time against the Wlir- 
temberg division : three battalions, supported by the Faisandrie 
redoubt, crossed the Marne at Joinville and advanced against 
Champigny, but were repulsed by the 2nd jager battalion 
and part of the 7th regiment with a loss of 3 killed and 
30 wounded. 

The fight on the 30th October at La Bourget, which was 
occupied by only one company of the Guard, was of more im- 
portance ; the village had been attacked on the 28th by superior 
French forces from Fort d'Aubervilliers, and the garrison driven 
out. The place lay under a cross-fire from the forts at St. Denis, 
d'Aubervilliers, and Bomainville, and the French made every 
effort to secure this advantageous position and fortify it. An 
attempt was made on the 29th to drive the enemy out of Le 
Bourget by the tire fi'om the batteries in rear, but it failed. ' 

The re-capture of this post of such importance to the Prussians 
was, therefore, ordered for the 30th October; the 2nd division 
of foot guards, under the command of Lieut.-General v, 
Budritzky, was told off for this service. It was arranged that a 
right column consisting of two battalions of the Franz regiment, 
a centre column composed of the 3rd grenadiers of the guard, 
and one battalion of the Queen's (Konigin) regiment, and a left 
column of two battalions of the Alexander regiment, with three 
companies of the battalion of sharpshooters of the guard, the 
whole supported by artillery and engineers as well as the 
necessary reserves, should attack Le Bourget simultaneously, 
and, if possible, cut off the retreat of the enemy on St. Denis, 
Preparations had also been made for the attack to be supported 
on both flanks by other troops of the investmg force. 

Le Bourget was occupied by 6,000 men, besides a reserve of 
several battalions on the Paris road. 

The combat was opened at 8 o'clock in the morning by a fire 
from retired artillery positions in the lines Garges-Aulnay ; the 
left column was immediately set in motion, crossed the Moleret 
stream without much resistance, and reached the road south of 
Le Bourget, drove the enemy out of his entrenched position, and 


forced the reserve into a hurried retreat. In the meantime the 
other columns had advanced to storm Le Bourget, where a most 
obstinate hand-to-hand fight took place in the streets and 
houses. The brave General von Budritzky led his troops in 
person, flag in hand, against the barricades at the northern 
entrance to Le Bourget, followed by Colonels Count Kanitz and 
Von Zaluskowsky, the latter of whom was killed in the street of 
the village. 

On the other side the Augusta regiment had pushed into 
the village ; its colonel, Count Waldersee, who had only just 
rejoined after recovery from a severe wound at Gravelotte, 
fell here, with another oflicer, by French treachery, having been 
shot from a house, the defenders of which had lured him on by 
the waving of handkerchiefs. 

In consequence of this the fight was continued with the 
greatest bitterness by the Prussians ; Le Bourget was in their 
possession by half-past 12 o'clock. The Prussians lost 85 officers 
and 449 men killed and wounded. The French 30 oflicers, 
1,250 unwounded prisoners. 

According to the statements of the prisoners, and judging by 
the large supply of provisions captured at Le Bourget, the enemy 
seem to have intended to include this place in the line of their 
fortified outposts and to construct large works round it. How- 
ever, the result was different from what they had proposed, for 
the 2nd pioneer company of the guard, under the command of 
Captain v. Spanckeren of the engineers, which had particularly 
distinguished itself in the battle field, immediately prepared to 
construct the defences of the place. 

The failure of the French sorties caused great dissatisfaction in 
Paris, and led to a rising in the night of the 30th-31st of 
October, in which, however, the mob was crushed by the troops 
at the disposal of Government. In the first days of November, 
there were negotiations which extended over a period of five 
days for the conclusion of an armistice, but without result. The 
Ilnd Prussian corps, which arrived before Paris in the latter 
half of November, was attached to the Ilird army, and went 
into cantonments in rear of the YIth Prussian and Ilnd Bavarian 
corps, from Longjumeau to the Seine. At the same time the 
Xllth (Saxon) corps moved its left wing across the Marne, and 
the Wlirtemberg Division closed towards the Vlth corps. The 
latter was transferred to the IVth army after the sortie of Le 
Bom'get, with instructions to operate against the bands of franc- 
tireurs that were making their appearance in rear of the position, 
and especially at Meaux and Lagny on the line of communica- 
tion. For this purpose a battalion, accompanied by one 
squadron and two guns, was despatched as a flying column to 
Nangis, and succeeded in capturing with small loss, 5 officers, 
597 men, and two guns. 

Although after the fight at Le Bourget the conflicts between the 
outposts were of less importance, and the extravagant waste of 
ammunition from the forts was diminished on the whole, yet. 


towards Xovember, there were indications of an important sortie, 
probably in the south or south-east ; in which direction General 
Trochu hoped to effect a junction with the army which had been 
organised in feverish haste by Gambetta, and was pushing 
forward to the rehef by way of Beaune under the command of 
General de Paladines. 

On the 29th of November a sortie was made against the posi- 
tion of the Vlth corps at L'Hay, Chevilly, Thiais, and Choisy 
le Roi. It began with a heavy cannonade during the night 
of the 2Sth-29th November from some of the southern forts, 
apparently for the purpose of fatiguing our troops, who had, in 
consequence, to be under arms during half the night. Some 
works of fortification, which were in progress at the time, had, 
therefore, to be given up for the moment ; among them the con- 
struction of a redoubt at Villa Coublay for the defence of the 
siege parks, The attacking columns of the enemy were launched 
from Arcueil and Yitry against L'Hay, whilst the two wings 
were directed on the villages of Thiais and Chevilly, lying on 
either side of the Fontainebleau road. The enemy's strength 
was about 3,000 men, but he foimd the Vlth corps in a strong 
position to receive him. 

After a hard fight of three hours, without any result, the 
French were thi'own back, leaving 2 ofiicers and 200 men in the 
hands of the Germans ; the latter, sheltered behind their strongly 
entrenched position, never permitted the French to develope 
their forces, and caused them great losses both in killed and 
wounded ; on our side the loss was 200, of whom 3 ofiicers and 
32 men were killed. 

On the 30th of November, the battle was renewed with 
increased forces, under the personal command of General 
Trochu ; an attempt was made to penetrate the lines of the 
Wlirtemberg division, on the ground in front of the peninsula 
of St. Maur, The eneni}^ commanded the ground where the 
Marne bends to the south, the villages of La Varenne, Pont 
Mesnil, and the district behind St. Maur, including the wood of 
les Fosses, by means of Forts Charenton and Nogent, and the 
works thrown up in advance. Near Creteil is Mont Mesly, which 
is high enough to be regarded as the commanding point of the 
surrounding country. 

The concentration of the enemy's forces took place near Fort 
Charenton, in the camp of St. Maur (Forest of Vincennes), and 
between Forts Rosny and Nogent. 

The first oftensive movement was from Fort Charenton against 
the hill of Mesly ; the second from Joinville, towards Cham- 
pigny ; and the third from Nogent, directed against Brie and 
Villiers. The three companies of Wiirtembergers, forming the 
garrison of Mesly, were miable to resist the overwhelming attack 
made against their position at daybreak, and fell back on their 
supports, whilst the enemy took possession of the Mesly heights 
and brought two batteries into action on them. An artillery 
fight now developed itself, whilst the division of Wiirtembergers 


formed up and advanced against the heights Avith the 2nd and 
3rd brigades, and re-captured them, after heavy fighting, about 
mid-day. They were supported by the 7th brigade of the 
Ilnd corps, which was in position with one battery at Villeneuve 
St. Georges, and joined in the attack from the side of Valenton, 
thus taking the enemy in flank, and preventing the action of 
the reserves, who were forced in consequence to retreat from the 
wood of Cr^teil, to the viUage of that name and Fort Charenton, 
How gallantly the Wiirtembergers fought may be gathered from 
the fact'^that their losses were 40 officers and 700 men, whilst 
accordino- to General Trochu's report those of the French amounted 
to nearly 2,000 killed and wounded. 

At Champigny and Brie, the Wiirtembergers had been relieved 
just before daybreak by the Saxons ; six companies of the latter 
occupied these places, but they were obliged to give way before 
the advancing French columns, who immediately took possession 
of the village of Villiers, lying more to the north. The French 
did not attempt a further advance against the Germain main 
position. In the meantime the reserves had come up. The 
Germans, n^imely, the 48th infantry brigade (Saxons), and the 
1st Wiirtemberg brigade, drove tlie enemy with great bravery 
out of Villiers, though Champigny and Brie remained in the hands 
of the latter. In the afternoon the fight raged with the greatest 
bitterness between Neuilly and Coeuilly ; the infantry flghting 
for the possession of the villages, whilst the artillery were posted 
in the intervals ; between Noisy and Villiers alone, there were 
42 gims of the Xllth corps in action. The fight which had 
been carried on with the greatest determination on both sides, 
was only brought to a close by the approaching darkness. 

This sanguinary day, which cost the Saxons 29 officers and 
879 men, and the Wiirtembergers 1,500, whilst they captured 
940 prisoners, gave the impression that the French had made 
every effort to break through the German lines ; for not only 
had all the preparations been carefully planned for this purpose, 
five bridges constructed over the Marne, and a supply of fresh 
troops always at hand, but offensive movements had been 
directed against other points of the investing army. A continuous 
cannonade was kept up from all the forts, and even iron-plated 
railway wagons and gun boats, the latter on the Seine and 
Marne, had been set in motion to flank the battle field. Sorties 
were made on botli flanks of the battle field, namely, against the 
Xllth corps in the direction of Chelles, and a second time against 
the A^'Itli corps at Chevilly. At the latter place the entrench- 
ments were held ; and the enemy advancing from his fortified 
position, was thrown back as early as 11 o'clock, so that the 
Vlth corps was able to detach 6 battalions, 2-i- squadrons, and 
2 batteries of horse artillery through Villeneuve St. Georges, to 
the assistance of the hard-pressed Wiirtembergers. At 3 
o'clock the French renewed their attack, which was repulsed 
with comparative ease. 


Simultaneously with these sorties to the south and south-east 
of the fortress, others were undertaken from St. Denis against 
the positions of the IVth and guard corps, as well as from St. 
Cloud against the Vth corps, but without result; the enemy- 
brought about a brigade into the field at these points. All round 
the city there were therefore engagements with the enemy. 
General Trochu had made a great noise in Paris about his 
victories at Champigny and Brie, nevertheless he found it neces- 
saiy to maintain himself quietly next day in the positions which 
he had occupied. 

On the 1st of December, the troops did not come into 
collision, but the French demanded an armistice until 4 o'clock 
in the afternoon, for the purpose of burying their dead. 

In consequence of an order, to be prepared under any circum- 
stances for a renewal of the attack, the whole Ilnd corps was 
brought over to the right bank of the Seine, and on the night 
of the lst-2nd Deceniber took up a position between Coeuilly 
and Chennevieres as reserve in rear of the Wilrtembergers ; 
a measure which proved to be most useful. The portion of the 
Xllth corps on the left bank of the Marne, the Ilnd corps, a 
brigade of the Vlth corps, and the Wilrtemberg division were 
placed under the command of General von Fransecky, com- 
mander of the Ilnd corps. At dawn on the 2nd of December 
at 7 o'clock, the 1st Wilrtemberg brigade, in company with the 
Saxons, renewed the attack on Champigny. They succeeded 
after a short time in taking the village, but the Germans could 
not maintain themselves there, on account of the defences in the 
place, and the constant arrival of fresh troops on the field, which 
were brought by the railroad passing close to Fort Nogent. The 
7th Prussian brigade, under ^the command of General du Trossel, 
advanced to the attack from Chennevieres at an opportune 
moment, but, as the lower part of the village of Champigny was 
under effective fire of the heavy guns, the Germans were only 
enabled to keep their hold in the upper part of t\\e village. The 
3rd infantry division, and the whole of tlie corps artillery had 
been in action in Champigny and on the line Champigny-Yilliers 
since 9 o'clock in the morning ; whilst the 8th brigade and a 
brigade of the Vlth corps remained in reserve at Chennevieres. 

After 10 hours hard fighting, the firing ceased here about 
5 o'clock in the afternoon. The 24th (Saxon) division had been. 
ordered to re-capture Brie ; about 8 o'clock in the morning, the 
place was attacked and the enemy driven into the lower part of 
the village, where he made a stand covered by good artillerj- 
positions. The fight in and round Brie came to a standstill. As 
the enemy in his well-entrenched position, was constantly receiving- 
reinforcements, it was impossible to get possession of the whole of 
the village, notwithstanding the devoted bravery of the 1st and 
2nd battalions of the sharpshooters, of the 107th regiment, and a 
battalion of the 104th regiment. Although the Germans had a 
numerous artillery at their disposal, the ground was so unfavour- 
able that it could not come fully into action. Eound Villiers, 


and especially in the park, which was bravely defended, first, by 
the Wlirtembergers, and afterwards by the Saxons, the fighting 
continued with great courage on both sides. At nightfall the 
enemy retired. The- losses of the Saxons on this day amounted 
to 55 officers and 1,096 men, those of the Wlirtembergers were 
48 officers and 700 men. The troops went into cantonments in 
the villages on the battlefield, in order to occupy on the 
morning of the 3rd December the positions previously held by 
them. The French repeated on this day some offensive move- 
ments against Champigny, but without any energy ; they main- 
tained themselves however at Brie. The Ilud corps lost, on the 
30th November, and the 2nd and 3rd Decembei", 89 officers and 
1,517 men. 

The concentrated position taken up by the Germans on this 
day behind Champigny and Brie, induced the French to retire 
from the places remaining in their possession ; they retreated 
from all points across the Marne, removing the bridges of boats 
after crossing the river. The necessity for strengthening this 
position with additional fortifications was now recognized, and 
strong detachments of pioneers were ordered to the spot from 
the south front. 

Thus these great efforts of the French to break out, for which 
purpose 70,000 of their best troops had been brought into action 
on the 30th of November and the 2nd of December, were 
repulsed without their having been of the slightest advantage to 
them ; they failed as on former occasions from not following up 
with resolution the advantages which had been gained by a 
vigorous attack. General Ducrot, who commanded on the 2nd 
and 3rd December, and had five horses shot under him on the 
first day, paid a tribute to the bravery of the German troops 
in his general orders. The occupation and fortifying of Mont 
Avron by the French, on the 28th of November, was highly 
disadvantageous to us. 

Nearly three weeks passed without any sorties from Paris ; in 
the meantime, an attempt was made on the French side to form 
a junction of the army of Paris with that of General Faidherbe, 
commander of the northern army, and, at the same time, to 
threaten our north-easterly line of communication. The enemy 
had also in view the molestation of our works in progress for 
the bombardment of Mont Avron. This led to a sortie " en 
masse" on the 21st of December, of three divisions under the 
command of General Ducrot, directed against the north-easterly 
portion of the investing line in two simultaneous attacks, each 
on two roads. One attack was covered by Forts St. Denis and 
d'Aubervilliers, the other by Forts Romainville, Rosny, and 
Nogent. The advance was made against four points : Stains and 
Le Bourget defended by the guard corps, and Sovran and 
Chelles which were held by the Xllth corps. 

On the afternoon of the 20th of December, the movement of 
large bodies of the enemy's troops out of St. Denis was noticed ; 
the guard corps therefore made the necessary dispositions. It 


was not possible on the morning of the 21st December to make 
out at what point the enemy intended to attack. Suddenly Le 
Bourget, which was garrisoned by one battalion of the 3rd 
regiment of guards, and one company of sharpshooters, was 
unexpectedly assailed from the northern side, the churchyard was 
captured and 125 men taken, but the southern edge of the village 
was bravely held. With the assistance of three companies of 
the 3rd grenadiers of the guard, and two companies of the 
sharpshooters of the guards, who were sent to the succour of the 
hardly-pressed garrison, they succeeded after a hard fight in 
driving the French out of the village at 3 o'clock in the after- 
noon. Three officers and 356 men were taken prisoners. 

Almost at the same time Stains, which was garrisoned by the 
2nd battalion of the 1st regiment of guards, one company of 
the 3rd regiment of guards, and the fusilier battalion of the 
1st regiment of guards, the latter in reserve, was attacked, 
under support from the guns of St. Denis ; but the enemy failed 
to penetrate into the village and had to retire. The forts l)ear- 
ing on the field of battle kept up a heavy fire during the entire 
day, supported by a numerous field artillery, against which only, 
six batteries of the guard corps were in action; towards 
evening the fii-ing ceased, and the Prussian troops were enabled 
to take up their old positions. Three officers and 356 un wounded 
prisoners fell into the hands of the Prussians ; our loss was 14 
officers and 400 men, that of the French considerable; they had 
40,000 men under fire. 

On the 19th and 20th of December, demonstrations had been 
made from Mont A\a'on towards the Maison Blanche and Ville- 
Evrart, against the Xllth corps. In the afternoon of the 20th De- 
cember, the enemy concentrated about two divisions and 11 bat- 
teries at Noisy-le-Sec, under the command of Generals Malroi and 
Blaise ; this force was further strengthened during the night by 
means of the railroad. Fresh batteries were unmasked on Mont. 
Avron. About mid-day the enemy attacked from Neuilly ; Maison 
Blanche and Ville-Evrart, which were only held by oui- outposts, 
were lost. A further advance against the very strong position of 
the 24th division at Chelles was prevented by the flanking fire 
of the Wiirtemberg Batteries, Nos. 7, 8, and 9 at Noisy-le-Graud, 
and by the overflowing of the Marne. As soon as the 24th 
division was completed by the arrival of the five battalions of 
the 101st and 107th regiments, the 13th jager battalion, all of 
which had been detached to support the guard corps, and also 
nine batteries which had taken up a position at Livry, it 
advanced against Maison Blanche and Ville-Evrart. The foi-mer 
was immediately taken by storm, but the fighting round YiUe- 
Evrart was most obstinate and only ceased at miduight, when 
500 French were made prisoners ; the place had to be evacuated 
on account of the rising of the river. The Saxons lost on this 
day 1 officer and 40 men, most of them slightly wounded. 

On the 21st December, the 4th infantry division was placed in 
reserve behind the Xllth corps, and the Sth brigade, together 


with four batteries, was advanced as far as tlie bridge over the 
Marne at Voires, but there was no collision with the enemy. 

Whilst these sorties were in progress, the French made de- 
monstrations at several points, for instance, from Fort Mont 
Valerien towards Montretout and Buzenval ; the outposts of the 
5th jager battalion sufficed to repel them. Besides this, a heavy 
and useless shell fire was kept up from the forts against the corps 
not attacked. 

On the 22nd of December, two French brigades advanced along 
the Marne against the left wing of the Xllth Corps, but two 
Wilrtemberg batteries placed at Noisy soon compelled them to 

On the 15th of January, there were more sorties of the Paris 
garrison against the position of the guard and Xllth corps in 
the direction of Le Bourget, Dugny, and Mont Avron, which 
were repulsed by the German troops. It is not impossible that 
the larger sorties on this front were in connexion with the opera- 
tions of General Faidherbe in the north ; though they may only 
have been intended to disturb our preparations for the attack on 
Mont Avron. 

In the last days of December and daring January, whilst the 
artillery attack was being developed, the political and social con- 
dition of the beleagued city was becoming more serious. All 
hopes were based on the success of a sortie " en masse." General 
Trochu yielded eventually to pressure, and on the 19th of January 
an attempt was made from Mont Valerien with 100,000 men to 
j)ierce the position occupied by the Vth army corps and the 
guard landwehr division. In the event of a success, a further 
advance w^as to be made on Versailles, the seat of the Royal 

At 8 o'clock in the morning, three columns were seen debouching 
from the immediate neiffhbourliood of Mont Vale'rien ; the ri^ht 
column, under command of General Ducrot, was to operate along 
the Seine towards Rueil ; the centre column, under General 
Bellemare, was to reach the plateau of La Bergerie (the heights 
of Garches), and the left column, commanded by General Vinoy, 
was to capture the redoubt of Montretout in order to support the 
attack in the centre. 

The Prussians had occupied the heights of Garches, as well as 
the chateau and park of La Bergerie, as a point of support to the 
position. The French attack, carried out with superior forces 
and great energy, only caused the Prussian outposts to retire on 
their supports, but they did not succeed in taking either La 
Bergerie, which was bravely defended by one battalion of the 
59th regiment and a company of jagers, or the viUage of Garches ; 
General Ducrot arrived on the battlefield too late to co-operate 
with good eifect at the right moment. Meanwhile, the Prussian 
reserves had come up, and a hard fight ensued for the possession 
of the heights of Garches. They w^ere stormed about 2 o'clock in 
the afternoon by two battalions of the King's grenadiers, with 


detachments of the 59th regiment and the 5th jao-er battalion 
supported on the flank by a battalion of the 47th reo-iment. 

Although, towards the end of the battle, the head of General 
Ducrot's column was able to join in the fight, still as the dark- 
ness came on, the French were repulsed and had to retire under 
cover of the guns of Fort Mont Valerien. These had been 
engaged with the Prussian artillery during the day in order to 
draw ofl* the fire from the infantry. The 5th light battery of 
the Vth corps in action at Brdzin suflPered most ; it was at this 
spot that the Crown Prince of Prussia took up a position durino- 
the battle. Towards evening our outposts occupied the same 
ground as in the morning. 

In the attack on Montretout the French were more fortunate ; 
the weak garrison of 60 men had to evacuate it and fight their 
way out. The enemy soon made a lodgment there, and brouo-ht 
guns into action on the right, so that it was not retaken till after 
dark. This was effecced at 11 o'clock in the evening by detach- 
ments of the -i7th, 58th, and 82nd regiments. It was observed in 
the afternoon and evening, that a large force of the French were 
bivouacking outside the fortress, and it was necessary, therefore, 
for the Prussians to make preparations to meet a renewal of tlie 
attack ; consequently a Bavarian brigade of the 1st corps, which 
had arrived before Paris a few da3's previously from the southern 
army, and some guard landwehr were moved to Versailles. 

Our loss was 39 officers and 616 men, that of the enem}^ was 
very considerable, it amounted to 7,000 men, of whom 1,000 
were left dead on the battlefield. There was also a small fio-ht 
this day on the eastern side of the investing line ; a company of 
the 100th regiment together with one of the 101st surprised the 
enemy's outpost in the farm of Groslay and took 5 officers and 
150 men prisoners. 

On the 20th of January detachments of the 58th regiment 
and the 5th jager battalion surrounded and cajitured 18 officers 
and 320 men in St. Cloud, to which place they had retired in 
the expectation that the battle would be renewed there. 

Although the investing army was constantly engaged in its 
front by these repeated sorties, the}^ did not remain unmolested 
in their rear, where franc-tireur bands, more or less oiganised, 
threatened the railways and telegraphs, and carried off transport, 
patrols, and oflicials ; it became necessary therefore up to the last 
days of the siege to despatch large columns against them, and 
as late as the 27th of January a force consisting of 2 infantry 
and 2 cavalry regiments with 8 guns, marched from the southern 
post of the investing circle towards Auxerre. 

From the beginning of the investment the internal condition 
of Paris had been anxiously watched at headquarters, and the 
fall of the capital would have been a mere matter of time, as 


tlie provisions decreased daily whilst the political difficulties 

The capitulation of Metz and the destruction of the newly- 
formed armies in the south and north, seemed to have no effect 
on the character of the defence ; the negotiations for an armis- 
tice, which had been carried on in the first days of November 
between the headquarters at Versailles and the French Govern- 
ment, had been broken off after lasting for five days. 

Under these circumstances, the necessity of a regular siege or 
bombardment of the capital had become inevitable, as the only 
means of bringing the war to a speedy conclusion ; but the pre- 
parations were on such a large scale, that, as regards the prin- 
cipal attack on the south front, we shall have to treat them 

A large siege train had to be brought up for the attack, com- 
posed partly of guns from the home fortresses and partly from 
the trains which had been already employed against other 
French fortresses, but at the same time the sieges then in pro- 
gress, which required a great amount of material, could not be 
interrupted. It was not surprising therefore, that exactly the 
most appropriate guns should not have been used in the artillery 
attack on the south front, or that the Germans were unprepared 
for the extraordinarily rapid wear of the guns, which influenced 
the progress of the siege. 

The siege train contained about 300 pieces of ordnance, 
namely, 70 long 24-prs., 15 short 24-prs., 100 12-prs.. 40 6-prs., 
exclusive of rifled breech-loaders, besides 20 25 -pr. shell guns, 
20 50-pr. mortars, and 6 rifled 21-cwt. mortars. Each gun was 
provided with 500 rounds for curved fire with the necessary side 
arms and stores ; the carriages, platform wagons, gyns, &c. with 
all their gear had to be brought up. 

The Ballon guns, of which there were twenty, and which 
were much spoken of at the time, were not guns but wall pieces, 
on a small four-wheeled wagon with a platform and spindle 
moved by means of a ball ; they did not, however, succeed. 

The parking of the siege guns for the south front occupied 
much time, as only one line of rail, that through Nancy, was 
available at first, and this could not even be used in its entire 
length most of the time, as several tunnels and bridges over the 
Marne, between La Ferte and Meaux, had been destroyed by 
the enemy and had to be repaired. AH the other bridges on 
the line had to be carefully inspected and strengthened so that 
they should not break down under the immense loads ; more 
than 100,000 cwt. of stores and ammunition alone had to be 
moved, which for the reasons given above had to be unloaded 
by hand and conveyed by road from ]\Ieaux and Lagny to the 
siege train park at Villa Coublay before Paris, a distance of 12 
miles (56 English miles). Special roads had to be made for the 
transports, and bridges built over the Seine. Several thousand 
draught horses were required as the requisitioned teams were 
insufticient and the drivers were constantly deserting, sometimes 


with and sometimes without their wagons, so that the necessary 
horses had to be provided from the troops ; but this arrangement 
was not found convenient as a permanency. Twenty-four transport 
columns, each of 40 wagons, were therefore lirought from Ger- 
many, and equipped partly with the French wagons and harness 
taken at Metz. The transport for the first establishment of the 
siege train occupied several weeks, both night and day, and had 
even to be continued in the same manner during the siege. 

Two of the Strousberg traction engines were brought into use. 
The hilly nature of the country, the soft roads, and the slipperi- 
ness in frosty weather and snow caused the greatest difficulties 
to the numberless wagons. Although the guns, ammunition, 
and other stores were all safely conveyed to the artillery park, 
still it was necessary to have special escorts to protect them 
against the hostile population. These circumstances increased 
immensely the difficulties of preparing for the attack on the south 
front, for whilst, on the east and north fronts everything brought 
from Germany was ^delivered by rail close up to the parks, in the 
other case all the material had to be transferred to the wagons 
and carried from for four to five days by road before reaching 
its destination, No person without a knowledge of the extensive 
organisation required for a siege park can form any idea of the 
vast preparations, or the energy and foresight necessary to carry 
out such an undertaking. The establishment of the engineer 
park and depots presented similar difficulties. 

To the right rear of the gun park, were the store sheds, the 
empty shells and other projectiles, the laboratories, a fuze magazine, 
and six jwwder magazines, with their proper guardhouses, all 
screened from the enemy's view by a wood. The situation of 
Villa Coublay was very convenient for the purposes of the siege, 
but it required some additional security against hostile enterprise, 
and three field works were constructed on the plateau of Moulin 
de la Tour, of which the centre one was armed with 1 2, and the 
other two each with 6 rifled 12-pounders. The rocky chalk 
soil, frozen later to a depth of 1^ feet, made the construction of 
the batteries a work of great difficulty ; the laying of tlie plat- 
forms had to be executed in the rock with crowbars and miners* 
tools. On the other hand the presence of the woods and the 
material they afforded were of great service in building the 
batteries. In consequence of being thus hidden they were not 
unmasked until the moment of opening fire ; in one case an 
artificial screen was formed by planting trees and boughs, behind 
which the construction of the batteries proceeded quite unper- 
ceived by the enemy. Countless vehicles with the baulks and 
platforms (both of which had to be brought from Germany), 
fascines and gabions, which were made by the Vth and Ilnd 
Bavarian corps, filled the roads and paths leading to the 
batteries for months, generally at night so as to be unobserved 
b}' the French. The production and accumulation of the different 
materials were, under the circumstances, works of uncommon 
difficulty ; for, although the equipment provided the greater part 


of the tools, still a' considerable quantity had to be obtained by 
requisition or forwarded from Germany. All these preparations 
required much time, both on account of the variety of difficulties 
that had to be encountered, and the shortness of the days ; but 
until everything necessary for carrying out the siege thoroughly 
was in its place, the opening of the attack could not be 
thought of 

It is hardly necessary to add that the time and manner of 
carrying out the siege had already been decided by the autho- 
rities ; and if there was any delay in opening the attack, it was on 
account of circumstances which have been already been noticed, 
a detailed account of which would be beyond our province. 

Paris was to be attacked on three sides simultaneously, so as 
to force the enemy to use his heavy guns on more than one 
front. It is worthy of remark, that the most broken ground 
bad to be selected for the artillery attack, and that in order to 
reach the body of the place, several of the outer forts would 
have to be engaged first, and perhaps have to be captm*ed. 

A short account of the different attacks in the east, north, 
and south, under the direction of Major-General Prince Kraft 
of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen, commander of the guard artillery 
iDrigade, will follow here, in the order in which they were carried 

I. — ARTiLLERr Attack on the East Fkont. 

The object of the French position on Mont Avron was, in 
conjunction with the forts in rear, to prepare sorties, and 
to support them with the fire of the guns; it commanded 
the valley of the Marne and covered the assembly of troops 
there, as well as the passages over the Marne, and at the same 
time it flanked the greater part of our eastern line of in- 
vestment. These favourable circumstances induced the enemy 
continually to strengthen this position, so that in the end there 
were six 30-pounders, six short 24-pounders, twenty-three 
7-pounders, thirty -four 12-pounders, seven miti*ailleuses, altogether 
76 guns distributed in eight batteries ; the latter, however, were 
imperfectly constructed, and unprovided with bombproofs and 
traverses, on account of the difficulty of working in the frozen 
ground. The commandant on the plateau of Mont Avron was 
the well-known and able Colonel Stoffel, who before the war 
had been attache to the French embassy in Berlin. There was 
no intention on the German side of occupying Mont Avron, 
especially as it lay under the cross-fire of Forts Rosny, Nogent, 
and Noisy, and of the redoubts Montreuil, La Boissiere, and 
Fontenay, situated in the intervals. Our positions were so close 
that our heavy guns could engage Mont Avron as well as the 
forts lying behind it. 

The following batteries were constructed : — 


A. — On the PlateoM of Raincy. 

Batteries Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4, armed respectively with six 
24-poimders, six 12-pounders, six short 24-pounders, and four 
short 24-pounders, altogether 22 guns, directed chiefly against 
Mont A\Ton, Fort Rosny, and other less important places, such 
as the villages of Avron, Rosny, Yillemomble, and the redoubts 
of la Boissiere and Montreuil. 

B. — On the Plateau of Mont Fermeil on the side nearest 
to Gagny. 

Batteries Nos. 5,* 6, 7, and 8, armed respectively with six 
12-pounders, six long 24-pOunderSj six 12-pounders, and six 
12-pounders, total 24 guns, to fire over the same ground as the 
other batteries, and also to sweep the valley of the Marne. To 
destroy any bridges that might be thrown over the river and 
prevent a passage. 

C. — In 'position hetiveen Noisy and Gournay. 

Batteries Nos. 9 and 10, armed respectively with six 12- 
pounders and six long 24-pounders, together 12 guns. To fire 
on the Marne valley and the valley of Villemomble and prevent 
the assembly of troops in these localities. 

D. — In position south-ivest of Noisy-le-Grand. 

Batteries Nos. 11, 12, and 13, each armed Avith six long 24- 
pounders, making a total of 18 guns to sweep the sides of Mont 
Avron, the villages of Villemomble and Neuilly, the railway 
junction, the Fontenay redoubt, and Fort Nogent. 

The distances of the different batteries from Mont Avron varied 
from 3,500 to 6,000 paces. 

The park of artillery was established at Brou, half a league to 
the east of Chelles, to which were brought 36 rifled 12-pounders, 
30 rifled 24-pounders, 10 rifled short 24-pounders, altogether 76 
siege guns. 

A transport column of 700 wagons was cantoned there in 
improvised barracks and stables. Ten companies of garrison 
artillery were available. The whole was placed under the com- 
mand of Colonel Bartsch as chief of the siege artillery, while 
Colonel Oppermann superintended the works of the engineers. 

On the ] 3th of December the construction of the batteries 
was begun ; it had to be carried on almost entirely at night, 
with the exception of the batteries on the plateau of Raincy, 
which were screened by the woods. 

Trench communications were made, where necessary, between 
the batteries, covered by traverses ; roads and bridges were 
constructed, as well as bombproofs of all descriptions. 

Fire was opened on the morning of the 27th of December at 
half -past 7 o'clock from 76 guns, and it succeeded by the next 

* In the plate No. 5 Battery is ^hown on the plateau of Raincj-. 
36996. jj; 


day in silencing Mont Avron after a good resistance, and con- 
siderable loss among the gun detacliments ; only the works in 
rear continued to respond to the fire, and the German artillery 
succeeded in driving the French garrison out of Bondy and out 
of the railway station at Noisy le Sec. 

The French evacuated the position on Mont Avron on the 
night of the 2 8th- 2 9th of December. They had thrown a 
garrison into it on the previous night, of two divisions under the 
command of General d'Hugues, with the intention of occupying 
it defensively. Their withdrawal during the night, together with 
the removal of the artillery m.atcriel, took place under the eyes 
of General Trochu, who had hurried to the spot, and was per- 
formed in wonderfully good order, covered by the marines 
and three field batteries. On the 30th of December Mont 
Avron was occupied by Saxon detachments. Supported by 
a covering party they levelled the enemy's works and des- 
troyed the ammunition and other materiel found there ; the 
magazine had been prepared for demolition. The next thing- 
was to drive the French out of the villages of Drancy and 
Bobigny, which they held in force, and for this purpose emplace- 
ments Nos. J 4 and 15 were constructed. Two other batteries, 
Nos. IG and 17, were built at Chennevieres to command the 
plateau of Villiers. To oppose the French position of Courneuve, 
Le Bourget, and Drancy, No. 1 battery at Blanc-Mesnil, and 
Nos. 2 and 3 batteries * at Pont Iblon were constructed, and 
armed altogether with 18 guns, so as to render an offensive 
movement from that direction impossible. Some of these latter 
batteries were advanced afterwards as far as Le Bourget, and 
were thus in a position to co-operate against St. Denis in the 
attack on the north front. 

On the 2nd and 3rd of January a heavy fire from the siege 
batteries was continued against the whole of the east front, and 
was only replied to feebly from Fort Nogent. 

As the east front had always been considered the strongest of 
the Paris defences, our successes against Mont Avron had raised 
a great alarm in the city, and ignorance of the military circum- 
stances had caused an unreasonable despondency, as well as 
distrust in their military chief. Meanwhile the enemy remained 
in possession of the villages of Bondy, Bobigny, Drancy, and 
Rosny, and disturbed our outposts from those places by frequent 
alarms; thus, on the nights of the 10th and 15th of January 
the Saxon outposts were attacked on the railway in advance of 
Aulnay and at Nonneville, whilst the same thing happened to 
the Guards in Le Bouiget three times during the night of 
the 14th of January. On account of these offensive movements, 
the siege batteries bombarded those places for 48 hours on the 
16th of January, the results of which could only be ascertained 
Dy a reconnaissance of detachments of the 2nd division of foot 

* These three batteries formed at the same time the left wing of the attack on the 
north front. 


guards against Drancy, and of the 23rd infantry division 
against Groslay farm, on which occasion 5 officers and 130 men 
were taken prisoners. 

On the night of the 26th-27th of January the batteries of the 
attack ceased firing. 

II. — Artillery Attack against the South Front. 

The command here was entrusted to Colonel von Rietf, Presi- 
dent of the committee on artillery experiments. This ofiicer 
had arrived before Paris towards the end of September ; the 
special reconnaissances, and all arrangements for the preparation 
and execution of the attack had been carried out under his 
orders. There were at his disj^osal 80 companies of garrison 
artillery, with their staff, and a numerous body belonging to 
the store department for duty in the various parks and depots. 

The following batteries were constructed : — 

A. — Left Wing. 

Battery No. 1 (St. Cloud) for six 12-pounders. 

Battery No. 2 (Meudon) for eight 12-pounders. 

Both these batteries to act against Billancourt, the Bois de 
Boulogne, and the islands in the Seine. 

Batteiy No. 3 (Meudon) six 24-pounders. 

Batteiy No. -i (Meudon) six 2-1-pounders. 

These batteries to counter-batter and enfilade the south and 
west fronts of Fort Issy. 

Dismounting battery No. 16 (Meudon) four 12-pounders, to 
fire against the gun emplacements at Fort Issy. 

Dismounting and breaching battery No. 19 (Fleury and 
Clamart) armed with four long and four short 24-pounders, 
against the south front of Fort Issy, the long 24-pounders ao-ainst 
the Paris enceinte. 

Dismounting battery No. 20 (Clamart) for six long 24-pounders, 
to fire against the south front and the north-west bastion of 
Fort Vanvres. 

B. — Centre. 

Enfilade and dismounting battery No. 5 (Clamart), six 
2'i-pounders, against the south-west curtain and the south bastion 
of Fort Issy. 

Enfilade battery No. 6 (Clamart), six 24-pounders, against the 
south-east front of Fort Vanvres. 

Enfilade and dismounting battery No. 7 (Moulin de la Tour) 
for six 24-pounders, against the south front and the south-west 
bastion of Fort Issy. 

Dismounting battery No. 17 (Moulin de la Tour) for six 
12-pounders, against the emplacements between Forts Issy and 

M 2 


Dismounting and breaching battery No. 8 (Moulin de la Tour) 
for six 24 -pounders, against the south front of Fort Vanvres. 

Enfilade and dismounting battery No. 9 (Moulin de la Tour) 
for eight 12 -pounders, to fire on the west front of Vanvres and 
its south-west bastion. 

Enfilade and breaching battery No. 10 (Moulin de la Tour) 
for six 24-pounders, against the south and west front of Fort 

Dismounting battery No. 21 (Chatillon) six short 24-pounders, 
directed against the south-west front of Vanvres, and the neigh- 
bouring gun emplacements. 

C. — Rigid Wing. 

Enfilade and dismounting battery No. 11 (Fontenoy) with 
eight 12-pounders, to fiie on the west front of Fort Montrouge. 

Enfilade and dismounting battery No. 12 (Fontenoy) eight 
24-pounders, also to fire against the west front of Fort 

Dismounting battery No. 18 (Chatillon) for six 24-pounders, 
to fire against Fort Montrouge, the emplacements to the west of 
it, and the city. 

Dismounting and enfilade battery No. 22 (Chatillon) for six 
12-pounders, with the same object as No. 18. 

D. — Batteries for vertical Fire. 

Mortar battery No. 13 for two rifled mortars at the Tour des 
Anglais, to fire against Fort Issy. 

Mortar battery No. 14, armed like No. 13, to fire against Fort 

Mortar battery No. 15, armed like No. 13, against Fort 

Mortar battery No. 23 for four 50-pounder mortars against 
Fort Issy. 

Mfjrtar battery No. 24, armed like No. 23, against Fort 

In order to secure the right flank of the artillery attack, against 
which the French made particular exertions, especially from 
Villejuif, and to occupy the enemy's batteries there continuously, 
a flank attack was organised on the line La Rue-Chevilly, under 
command of General von Ramm, to be carried on independently. 
The park attached to it was at Rungis, and two batteries, each 
for six 12-pounders, were at first built in the given line, but 
afterwards advanced somewhat nearer to Villejuif. 

The original armament of, some of the batteries was cnanged 
in the course of the siege operations to meet the alterations in 
the range ; the greatest distance was 4,000 paces, and the smallest 
1,700 paces ; during the last days of the bombardment, the 
interior of the city was the object" of attack of nearly all the 
batteries, some of which sent their projectiles to a distance of 
12,000 paces. 


The garrisons of Forts Issy, Vanvres, and Montrouge observed 
the ground in their front, by means of ou (-posts and piquets, 
patrols from which had frequent small collisions with ours ; thus 
on the 16th December 1870, two companies advancing from Fort 
Tssy attempted to occupy the village of Meudon, but were 
repulsed by the Prussian outposts, leaving five wounded behind 

With the object of gaining some ground on our side, the 
French outposts were driven out of Bas Meudon, Le Moulineaux, 
and Fleury shortly after midnight on the 3rd Januaiy ; strong- 
reserves had been brought up for the occasion. During the same 
night, the arming of the German batteries was completed ; but 
the opening of the fire on the 4th January had to be postponed 
on account of the fog. In order to take ofi* the attention of the 
enemy from the attack on the south front, the Xllth corps 
received orders to make demonstrations on the east side. In 
accordance with these, on the 4th January, the 24th division 
undertook a reconnaissance from Chelles ao-aiust Fort Nosjent, 
whilst at the same time, the demolitions on Mont Avron were 
carried on with great activity, to create the impression on the 
enemy that German batteries were to be established there. 
Two battalions of the 101st regiment, and a light battery 
advanced against Neuilly sur Marne, and occupied a part of the 
village and evacuated it again during the night ; as a conse- 
quence of this, the enemy increased his force in the front, and 
remained under arms till morning. 

On the 5th of January there were more demonstrations, 
principally against the villages of Nogent and Rosny. The 2nd 
battalion of the 105th regiment and the 3rd battalion of the 
106th regiment, accompanied by a light battery, were directed 
against Nogent, whilst the enemy's outposts were threatened 
from Mont Avron, and the 3rd battalion of the 101st regiment 
was sent against the garrison of Bond3^ Other movements of 
troops also occurred in this district. The Saxon detachments 
retired from all points to their original position, after accomplish- 
ing the tasks with which they had been charged, whilst the 
French maintained an extremely heavy fire from 31 guns against 
the German artillery position on the plateau of Raincy. From 
the 31st of December until the 5tli of January the artillery of 
the defence on the east front remained almost silent. 

During these occurrences on the east front, the arming of the 
German batteries on the south front had been completed without 
molestation ; on the 5th of January, towards morning, the French 
made several small sorties against the outposts on the hill of 
Clamart. The latter had occupied the summit of the hill, and 
were attacked during the previous night, three times in succes- 
sion, on the last occasion with one battalion, which, however, 
retired v;hen the bombardment opened. The 80th regiment also 
repulsed a sortie made against Meudon. 

On the 5th of January, as soon as the fog permitted a good 
view of the enemy's position, the batteries opened their fire. 


which had been ordered to commence at half-past 8 o'clock 
The principal attack fired this day on Forts Issy, Vanvres, and 
Montrouge, from batteries No. 1 to 17 ; the collateral attack 
directed its fire against the entrenchments at Yillejnif and the 
gunboats that appeared on the Seine. 

For the sake of brevity, we cannot give all the details of 
the artillery fight which had now commenced ; it is sufficient to 
remark that everywhere the French artillery, but particularly 
from the main enceinte, and from the batteries at the Point 
du Jour, showed the greatest activity, and proved itself to 
be an opponent worthy of our respect, forcing us often enough 
to give up the tasks originally assigned to single batteries, in 
order to meet him with united strength. 

January 6th. — Clear weather ; the fire from Fort Issy was 
temporarily silenced. The enemy fired into St. Cloud, Bougival, 
and Vaucresson from Fort Mont Valerien, and unmasked four 
new batteries at the Point du Jour ; the guns on both sides of 
the aqueduct engaged No. 1 battery and fired on to the plateau 
of Meudon ; Forts Issy and Vanvres only fired slowl}^ ; on the 
other hand Fort Montrouge directed a heavy fire against the 
redoubt of Monlin de la Tour, Avhich was occupied by the 
Bavarians, as well as against the village of Clamart. Our fire was 
chiefly against Fort Issy and beyond that towards Paris against 
the Point du Jour, and the adjoining batteries on the railway 
embankment and the aqueduct. In the neighbourhood of Point 
du Jour the flames broke out in several places. 

January 7th and 8th. — Thick weather ; the firing was con- 
tinued and set the barracks in Forts Vanvres and Montrouge in 
flames ; our projectiles ranged from 9,000 to 9,500 paces up to 
the gardens of the Luxembourg Palace, The revetments and 
buildings inside Fort Issy were being demolished ; the fort 
answering the fire but feebly. From Fort Vanvres there was 
only a dropping fire. Montrouge was engaged with the Bavarian 
battaries at Moulin de la Tour ; a barrack in the fort was set on 
fire. Against the Point du Jour and the adjoining batteries the 
artillery fight continued. Some of the batteries were silenced, 
but the well-conducted defence and extended front of the fortress 
enabled them soon to be replaced. 

The authority of the Governor, General Trochu, over the 
Parisian populace was beginning to be shaken ; he jdelded to 
the pressure put on him and allowed himself to be hamj^ered by 
a council of eight members ; in a proclamation issued he 
repudiated the idea of a capitulation. 

January 9th. — The object of our fire now was to prevent the 
enemy from constructing new earthworks for gun emplacements, 
communications, tfcc. ; the reply to it from his positions was less 
energetic ; it seemed as if the enemy were engaged in with- 
drawing the heavy calibres from the advanced positions. As 
the day was foggy, with continuous driving snow, the batteries 
of attack were ordered to slacken their fire. The government of 
Paris made a protest against the bombardment of the city, which, 


considering that the siege had now been in progress for three 
months and a half, and that in the conduct of the defence neither 
towns, villages, nor palaces on their own soil had been spared, 
was naturally rejected ; on the 8th-9th of January some of the 
batteries received orders to bombard the inner portions of the 
town. At half-past S in the evening, Le Val was attacked by 
the lOtli company of the 87th regiment, and a subdivision of the 
11th company of the same regiment was sent against Moulineaux, 
as the enemy had located himself again in these places ; after a 
good resistance he was driven out, and the besiegers by the 
capture of these places were enabled to approach from 1,500 to 
1,600 paces nearer to Fort Issy. 

January 10th. — At 3 o'clock in the morning, some chasseurs 
managed to penetrate into a new battery on the hill of Clamart, 
which only opened fire on this day, but the covering party drove 
them out again. This spot was of the utmost importance both 
for the attack and the defence, and for weeks the ground had 
been disputed by the outposts. Similar small aftairs occurred at 
other places, evidently with the intention of making our approach 
more difficult. Our fire, which was continued without inter- 
mission, was answered by the enemj^ but only to a limited 
extent. Paris was burning in several places. The battery at 
St. Cloud fired into Billan court and the Bois de Boulogne. 

On the 11th of January, a heavy fire was maintained against 
the enemy's works and gun emplacements. The barracks in 
Fort Issy wei*6 set in flames, as well as several houses in the 
suburbs of Gentilly and Vaugirard, and in the north-east part of 
the city; German projectiles ranged as far as the church of St. 
Sulpice, a distance of 10,000 paces ; in the more exposed streets 
of Paris, the stone paving was torn up. The enemy made a 
skilful use of the entrenchments in front of, between, and in rear 
of the forts connecting the gun emplacements, to construct new 
batteries and change the position of the guns. The garrison of 
Fort Mont Yaldrien undertook a reconnaissance against our 
outposts at St. Germain, but were soon compelled to retreat. 

January 12th. — The fog, which had been continuous, for the 
last two days, still interfered with our fire. The enemy replied 
to it vigorously from the main enceinte. Covered by the fog, the 
garrison of Montrouge managed to mount some fresh guns. The 
besiegers threw their projectiles far into the town beyond the 
Luxembourg Palace, but the storming of the south forts, which 
at one time was considered a necessity by some of the authorities, 
was abandoned. In view of the original intention, a parallel had 
been constructed between Clamart and Chatillon at a distance of 
1,500 paces from Forts Issy and Vanvres ; which would have 
formed the basis of a regular attack against those forts. 

A decree published by the provisional government secured to 
citizens wounded by the enemy's shells, the same claim to 
pension as the military. 

January l-Sth. — On account of the continued fog the fire on 
both sides was slack. During the previous night a vigorous 


sortie of the French, by a force of about 4,000 mobiles stationed 
in and behind the forts, was repulsed by detachments of the 
Xlth corps at Meudon and by the Ilnd Bavarian corps at 

January 14th. — The fire from tlie besiegers' batteries was 
continued ; the three forts of Issy, Vanvres, and Montrouge had 
almost ceased to fire, but the latter made an attempt to reply 
with field guns when there was a favourable opportunity. 

January loth. — After great labour and exertion battery No. 1 
(St. Cloud) managed to silence the French batteries established 
at the Point du Jour in the south bastion, and was enabled now 
to continue its fire against the three butteries in the north 
bastion and the town. Prussian projectiles were thrown as far 
as the church of Notre Dame and the Jardin des Plantes. The 
dissatisfaction and ferment increased to such an extent in the 
town, that General Troclui had publicly to contradict tjie report 
that several generals had been committed for treachery. 

January IGth. — Battery No. 21 opened fire to-day to demolish 
the casemates in Fort Issy. 

January 17th and 18th. — The enemy showed great energy in 
re-arming along his front and in the unexpected unmaslcing 
of guns, which had been mounted in emplacements within the 

Then occurred that momentous event in the history of the world 
when King William, within sound of the thunder of the siege 
batteries, accepted for himself and his descendants the title of 
Emperor, off"ered him by the German princes and free towns, with 
the vow to uphold, in German faith, the rights of the empire and 
its members, to preserve peace, and by the help of his people 
to maintain the independence of Germany, as had been done 
gloriously by Prussia's kings for 170 years. This ceremony took 
place on the 18th of January 1871 in the Hall of Mirrors at 
Versailles, in the presence of the German princes and surrounded 
])y representatives of the Geiman Army. 

January 19th. — Notwithstanding the sortie from Fort Mont 
Valerien against the heights of Garches, the guns on both sides 
kept up an uninterrupted fire. 

January 20th. — There was a slackening of the fire from the 
artillery of the defence, probably in consequence of the failure of 
the sortie of the previous day ; thus, the fire from Montrouge, 
where the guns had been admirably fought, almost ceased 
towards mid-day ; in the batteries at the Point du Jour the fire 
ceased altogether for a time ; the eastern barracks in Fort 
Vanvres were set in flames. General Trochu sent General Count 
d'Herison to the commander of the 3rd army to demand an 
armistice of 48 hours, which, however, was only conceded on the 
line from St. Cloud to Garches for a sufficient time to bury the 

January 21st and 22nd. — Heavy fire from the batteries ad- 
joining the Point du Jour and the emplacements between the 
three south forts ; among the latter a French redoubt constructed 


ill the interval between Forts Vanvres and Montrouge distin- 
guished itself particularly ; it required nearly a whole day for 
our batteries to master it. A powder magazine in rear of 
Claraart Wiis blown up. Insurrectionary movements of the 
Parisian populace were observed. 

January 23rd. — Lively fire from the enceinte of the city ; 
fresh batteries were unmasked by the French at the entrance to 
the Bois de Boulogne. The artillery of the attack did not allow 
itself be troubled by this, but managed to silence several bat- 
teries of the main enceinte, and subdue the fire of the field 
battery which had been so active on the previous day. 

January 24th. — The fire of the besiegers' batteries could only 
be continued at intervals on account of the fog, the enemy 
replying but feebly. A serious outbreak occurred in Paris in 
which the prison of Mazas was stormed, the prisoners liberated, 
and the granaries with supplies of bread and wine plundered by 
the mob ; in front of the Hotel de Ville the national guard 
fired on the insurgents. 

January 25th. — The enemy attempted, under cover of the fog, 
to construct earthworks in and lound Fort Issy, but were 
prevented. The bombardment continued as on the pre^^ous 

January 26th. — Clear wer.ther ; the bombardment was only 
weakly answered from the enceinte of the city, from Fort Mont- 
rouge and from the emplacements between Forts Vanvres and 
Issy ; notwithstanding the weather being clear the artillery of 
the defence were unable to accomplish anything. Equally futile 
was the hea^y fire from the battery at the Point du Jour against 
No. 1 battery. The batteries in front of Claniart were fired at 
but slightly from the fortifications of the town and from Fort 
Montrouge, and the neighbouring mortar batteries scarcely 
at all. 

January 27th. — After midnight the batteries on both sides 
ceased firing by common consent. 

The losses of the German artillery in the 22 days' bombardment 
were 12 officers and 200 men killed and wounded ; the field 
hospitals were established at Malabry and Sceaux, the chief 
hospital at Igny, between Versailles and Palaiseau. Lieutenant- 
General von Kamecke, who had been in command of the 14th 
Division during the campaign, was ordered from Mezieres to 
Paris to take over the chief command of the engineering works 
of the attack. The works which had been carried out by the 
engineers during the artillery bombardment M'ere, covered com- 
munications between the batteries, shelter trenches, traverses, 
assistance in building batteries and powder magazines, shell 
stores, posts of observation, underground storerooms (all bomb- 
proof), rendering the barracks which were not bombproof 
secure as guard houses, preparation of defences, constructing and 
maintaining roads, &c. Althourdi the trenches were tilled in 
some places with water which increased the difficulties of usiua- 
them, It was an evil which could only be partially remedied : it 


must always occur at a siege carried on during the winter, as 
the trenches follow the lie of the ground and become the natural 
points of accumulation for the surface and subsoil drainage. 

III. — Artillery Attack agaixst the North Front (St. Denis). 

The intricate works of St. Denis are among the strongest of 
the defences of Paris, but they have one defect, that they have 
not a sufficient command to be defiladed from the hills in front, 
consequently they can be seen into, and in some places even 
the works of the gorge can be fired at. 

On the 21st of December, there was a sortie at Epinay le St. 
Denis against the troops holding the investing line at that place ; 
the gun-boats on the Seine co-operated, but eventUcilly it was 
successfully repulsed by Prussian batteries of position at Orge- 
mont and Enghien. 

As long as Mont Avron continued in possession of the French, 
it was impossible for the German batteries on the north-east 
front to approach, nearer, because the German position on that 
side of Paris as well as the strong French position La Cour- 
neuve, Le Bourget, and Drancy, was brought under an effective 
flanking fire. The capture of Mont Avron, which was of the 
utmost importance, as well as the unsuccessful sortie of the 
French against Le Bourget on the 21st December, must have 
proved to the enemy that any attacks against the position of 
the Guards there could lead to no result. In consequence 
of these occurrences the French defence at that point lost 
its energy, and the fire of the Prussian batteries was there- 
fore turned against the villages of Drancy, Bobigny, Bondy, and 
Rosny, with good effect; the forts of Noisy and Rosny were 
only fired at occasionally. In the meantime, a number of other 
German batteries were built on the line Livry-Garches, with the 
intention of making a frontal attack against the French posi- 
tion of La Courneuve-Drancy. Two batteries at Garches were 
directed at the same time to enfilade the works of St. Denis. 

For the actual bombardment of St. Denis, on the capture of 
which great value was very properly set at head-quarters, it wns 
necessary, exclusive of the 24 6-pounder field-guns, to organise a 
special siege train, made up from, the guns which had been 
employed at Mezieres and Peronne ; namely, 

26 long 24-pounders, 10 short 24-pounders, 82 12-pounders, 
and 3 rifled mortars. 

The necessary preparations for the attack on St. Denis began 
on the 10th of January ; the siege train park was established at 
the railway station of Gonesse, a new transport park for 700 
wagons was prepared at Ecouen, and a sufficient materiel, which 
was already partially prepared, for the construction of the 
batteries, was collected in depots at Arnouville and Montmorency. 
In order not to postpone the building of the batteries until after 


the arrival of the siege artillery companies from Mezieres, tlie 
em^Dlacements were constructed by men from the field artillery 
and by the pioneers of the guard and 4th corps. The following 
15 batteries were made : — 

Batteries Nos. 1, 2, and 3, armed each with six long 24-pounders, 
and six 12-pounders to fire against Drancy, Bobigny, and La 

Battery No. 4, armed with eight long 24-pounders, against 
Foi-t Aubervilliers and the suburb of La Yilette. 

Batteries Nos. 5, 6, 7. 8, and 9, armed respectively with six 
long 24-pounders, six short 24-pounders, eight 12-pounders, and 
three rifled mortars against the fort and village of Aubervilliers, 
Fort de I'Est, Double Couronne, Fort de la Briche, and St. 
Denis. '^i : ;. 

Batteries Nos. 10 and 11, each armed with six long 24- 
pounders and eight 12-pounders, against the fortifications of St. 
Denis and the Seine. 

Battery No. 12, armed with six long 24-pounders to fire at 
the same objects. 

Batteries Nos. 18, 14, and 15, armed with eight 12-pounders, 
four short, and six long 24-pounders, against Forts de la Briche 
Double Couronne, and the whole fortress of St. Denis. 

All these .batteries opened fire on the 21st of January. 

A glance at the map is sufficient to show that the besiegers' 
batteries had the advantage of a concentric fire against St. Denis, 
the collateral forts, and the French positions generally. As early 
as the 22nd of January, the fire from St. Denis was almost 
silenced. The town was in flames in several places. The repulse 
of the sortie on the 19th of January, and the effect of the bom- 
bardment against the whole circle of the Paris fortifications, with 
the exception of Mont Valerien, had produced the greatest discord 
and dissatisfaction among the populace of the capital. Serious 
risings occurred among the people, which led, on the 23rd of 
January, to a severance of the functions of President of com- 
mittee of national defence from those of Commander-in-Chief of 
the army. General Vinoy was appointed to the chief command 
of the army of Paris, whilst General Trochu continued to be a 
member of the Government only. 

In the meantime, on the 25th and 26th of January, the bom- 
bardment of the north front went on without interruption until 
the night of the 26th-27th of January, when the fire on both 
sides ceased here also. 

On the evening of the 28th of January an armistice of three 
daj^s was declared, for the negotiation of which Jules Favre, the 
minister of foreign affairs for the Paris Government, had during 
the last few days visited Versailles, and been backwards and 
forwards between that place and Paris. The conditions with 
regard to Paris were settled with a military commission which 
arrived from the capital. They were as folloAvs : 

All forts to be at once given up ; the main enceinte to be disarmed. 
The troops of the line, marines and guards mobiles to become 


prisoners of war, with the exception of 12,000 men for the pre- 
servation of order in the city. The prisoners to remain within the 
gates of the city during the armistice and to hand over their arms ; 
the garde nationale and the gensdarmerie to retain their arms. 
All franc-tireur corps to be disbanded. The Germans to assist the 
French commissaries as far as possible in the reprovisioning of 
Paris. Persons desirous of quitting Paris to obtain a permit from 
the French authorities, with a German visa. The municipality of 
Paris to pay a contribution for the town of 200 million francs 
within li days. Public property not to be removed during the 

In accordance with the above stipulations, on the 29th of 
January, at 11 o'clock in the morning, all the forts, with the 
exception of Vincennes, were, after a previous reconnaissance 
for mines, &c., occupied by the besieging army ; Mont Valerien 
and Fort Issy by the Vth Prussian corps, Forts Vanvres and 
Montrouge by the Bavarian corps, Fort Charenton by the 1st 
Bavarian corps, Forts Ivry and Bicetre by the Vlth Prussian 
corps, the redoubts Gravelle and Faisanderie by the Wiirtem- 
berg division, Forts Nogent, Posny, Noisy, and Romainville by 
the XTIth Saxon corps, Fort d'Aubervilliers by the guard corps, 
and the works of St. Denis ,by the guard and I Vth corps. At 
the same time the outposts were brought within from 500 to 700 
paces of the enceinte of the town, and the main positions 
advanced in a corresponding degree. In all the forts occupied by 
the Germans the necessary works were commenced that might be 
required if the bombardment had to be continued at the reduced 
rano-e. In the intervals between the south forts, and other 
suitable positions, six new batteries were erected besides em- 
placements, which were armed with the necessary guns and 
prepared for opening fire. 

The execution of the convention with Paris, and the disarma- 
ment, was carried out without interruption ; though the delivery 
of a large portion of the arms did not take place on account of 
the angry feeling of the inhabitants, and for other reasons. How- 
ever, near 200,000 Chassepot rifles, 600 field guns, and l,3o0 
garrison guns fell into the hands of the victors. The total loss of 
the Paris army during the siege is given as 17,000 kiUed. 

On the 1st of March 10,000 men from each of the Vlth and 
Xlth Prussian corps, and the Ilnd Bavarian corps, marched into 
the Bois de Boulogne, where they were to remain two days for a 
review which the Emperor King was to hold in the Champs 
Elysees and the adjoining part of the town. 

Lieutenant- General Kamecke acted as commandant of that part 
of Paris which was occupied by the German troops. The latter 
were to be relieved on the 3rd of March by a body of equal strength 
from the guard corps, the siege artillery, and pioneers, and the 
King's grenadiers, which had been specially recalled from Orleans 
for the purpose. 

This, however, never took place, as the ratification of the pre- 
liminaries of peace by which the town was to be evacuated at 


once arrived from Bordeaux on the day before. His Majesty 
nevertheless, held a review on Longchamps, and on the same day 
our troops marched out of Paris. 

The German armies now retired behind the line of the Seine ; 
those troops which were prevented by the circumstances men- 
tioned above from passing in review before His Majesty in Paris, 
namely, the Xth Saxon corps, the 1st Bavarians, and the 
Wiirtemberg division, were inspected by the King at Villiers. 

This brings to a close the description which we have given in 
broad outline of the glorious siege of Paris, which was carried on 
during four months and a half with an expenditure of men and 
material on both sides, quite without parallel in the history of 
war; no other siege can be compared with it either for military 
importance or political consequences. 



(plate XIX.) 

This fortress, in the valley of the Sund, lies at the junction of 
three railroads, which lead on the east, via Altkirch and Miihl- 
hausen to Basle, on the west via Vesoul to Paris, and on the 
south-west into the valley of the Doubs to Besan9on ; it is 
the point of junction of the roads from Epinal, Miililhausen, 
Basle, Besan9on, and Vesoul. This important position gives the 
fortress its military value, which is increased with regard 
to operations against Germany, by the pass leading between 
the Jura and the Vosges, called the Troude of Belfort, which 
is always passable and not liable to snow drifts like most of 
the defiles in the latter range. The possession of the fortress 
became of the greatest importance to Germany after the conquest 
of Alsace and the fortified towns there, and all the more so, as 
experience showed that the population of this district, everywhere 
hostile to the invaders, found a point of support in Belfort ; 
besides which it was to our interest once and for all to capture 
the gate by which French armies might debouch into South 

Belfort, with 14,000 inhabitants, lies on the left bank of the 
Savoureuse, a tributary of the Doubs, an arm of which flows 
through the town, where the banks are lined with iron 
foundries. The Savoureuse forms on the north and north-east 
of the fortress a tolerably broad valley with meadows ; on the 
west, the slopes of the Haute du Mont and of La Cote, form a 
belt of undulating ground about 1,500 paces in width ; on the 
south side, there are more meadow lands, and on the east, several 
long ridges, of great importance to the fortress, as well as some 
isolated groups of hills and ranges of heights, among them the 
Perches, approach within the rayon of the fortress. 

The ground plan of the fortress consists of a fortified pentagon 
built chiefly on Vauban's .3rd system. The north and west 
fronts have three bastioned towers with detached bastions in 
advance ; the latter front is strengthened by a ravelin with 
retired flanks, and both are thoroughly flanked by the casemates 
in the towers. In advance of the north front lies the crown- 
work of I'Esperance, through which flows the Savoureuse, 
dividing the fort into two halves, the upper and lower ; here is 
the sluice-gate of the Savoureuse, by means of which an inunda- 

Plate XIXJ 


tioii can be formed. At the eastern end of this work lies a 
bombproof barrack, another is situated on the arm of the 
Savonreuse, to which alhision has ah-eady been made; on the 
left wing is a casemated Ijatter}^ On the south-east side of the 
town lies the citadel, commanding the former ; it was originally 
planned by Marshal Vauban, and is situated on a steep rock 
rising to a height of 80 feet above the level of the streets. This 
fortification consists of a triple line ; namely, a. bastioned front 
with two bombproof barracks lying one behind the other, a 
counter-guard, and the outer works, which are of the nature 
of a crownwork. Both the last-named lines of fortification 
are provided partly with casemated, partly with open flanking 
defences, so that the works of the citadel taken as a whole 
may be considered ver}^ formidable and capable of good resist- 
ance. Whilst the cliffs on the south-west command the ground 
lying to the south of the fortress, and form a natural termina- 
tion to the fortifications there, the defences of the chateau on 
the north-east are connected, by a separate work having an 
advanced ravelin, with Fort TEsperance ; from which the south- 
eastern slope of the long ridge is swept, and on the extreme end 
of it is the Fort La Justice. The latter is an independent fort, the 
garrison of which can be accommodated in a bombproof redoubt 
and in casemates. The work is connected by a curtain with 
Fort la Miotte. We wish to call particular attention to the lines 
of these two important outworks, which were planned by the late 
celebrated inspector-general of the French engineers. General 
Haxo, because they rendered the construction of the besiegers' 
parallels and batteries against them a labour of great difiiculty, 
almost of impossibility. An entrenched camp for 10,000 men 
lies between the horn work I'Esperance, tlie work advanced on 
the north-east of the chateau, and the forts of La Justice and 
La Miotte. The steep slopes of the long ridge form the eastern 
side, whilst the opposite one is enclosed by an earthwork ; in the 
interior lies the suburb of Brisach. 

Fort des Barres, which has a front of nearly 1,200 paces, is a 
new and spacious work lying on the right bank of the Savour- 
euse ; and covering the railway leading to Vesoul and Paris. 
The three bastions have casemates en decharge ; in the centre 
one is a powder magazine ; the gorge is closed by a loopholed 

Notwithstanding the skill with which the works covered the 
ground in front, still, at the outbreak of the war, there was a gap 
in the defences, 2,000 paces south-east of the town, where the 
ridge, called Perches, commanded the citadel, &c. Before the 
introduction of rifled long-range guns, it may have been of no 
consequence to the fortress, all the less so, because an attack on 
that side would have been under an efiective flanking fire from 
Forts La Justice and La Miotte ; now, however, the commandant 
recognised the necessity of crowning these heights with two 
works of a strong profile, though constructed hastily. The two 
forts of Halite Perche and Basse Perche have each a front of 


from 350 to 400 paces, pi'ovided with two large and roomy 
blockhouses in the gorge, the ditches beiog blasted out of the 
solid rock with perpendicular sides, 9 feet deep ; the ground 
plan has the form of a redoubt with a very broken crest line ; on 
either side of the gorge were shelter trenches. The Fort Basse 
Perche is situated 021 the same level as the citadel ; Haute Perche 
on the contrary lies 30 feet higher, so that it commands the 
citadel, and may be considered the key of the fortress. 

Another work, Fort Bellevue, which had also been constructed 
hastily, lay near the railway station, and covered the suburb of 
Montbeliard ; It likewise had the form of a redoubt, with a very 
indented crest line. Close to the fort is a farm, which had been 
fortified, and was brought into the general line of defence. 

Belfort was one of those fortresses which immediately on the 
outbreak of the war was to have been placed in a state of defence, 
and the experienced commandant Colonel Denfert, who belonged 
to the engineer corps, endeavoured to accomplish this thoroughly 
with all the means at his disposal. For a long time the commu- 
nication with the south, which remained untouched by the war, 
was open to him ; and from this side he was enabled to complete 
the provisioning, as well as to provide all other matdriel for the 
defence, so that the place had been strengthened and armed with 
the greatest care. By this means all building was much facili- 
tated, and was executed with praiseworthy thoroughness and 
foresight. Guns of heavy calibre, with considerable supplies of 
ammunition were brought from the great arsenals of Lyons and 

None of the French fortresses that fell into our hands during 
the course of the war, except Metz and Paris, had detached 
forts, in consequence of which, and also because the besieging 
artillery were enabled to occupy advantageous positions at close 
range, their capture occupied only a short time. At Belfort the 
case was quite different, for here there were not only very strong 
well-placed detached forts, which kept the besiegers at a distance, 
but there were extremely few places from whence a successful 
artillery attack could be carried out. The season and the nature 
of the ground were also peculiarly unfjwourable to the attack. 
In addition to this was the military capability of the energetic 
commandant, and to him must be given the credit of having by 
military training and discipline turned the heterogeneous garrison, 
confided to his charge, into opponents worthy of our respect. 
But most prominent of all was the skill with wliich he defended 
the ground in front of the works. The following description of 
the siege will show that he only retired into the fortress proper, 
during the last days of the defence, after the advance of the 
enemy had been impeded considerably by the use of suitable 
field works outside the fortress, which had been defended step 
by step. 

The 1st reserve division, under Major-General von Tresckow II., 
received the order in the end of October 1870 to invest Belfort. 
These troops were distributed at the time throughout Alsace and 


in the Vosges, and the march was, therefore, commenced with 
only 11 battalions, 7 squadrons, and 4 batteries, inclusive of the 
reinforcements from tlie 4th reserve division. The march was 
accomplished by the 2nd of November, after constant fights 
with the franc-tireurs and gardes mobiles. On the 3rcl of 
November, the investment was completed; the line occupied by 
the outposts being 5| miles (24-6 English miles) in length. With 
an infantry force of only 8,000 men, against a garrison of double 
that strength, who were active op]3onents, and on such unfavour- 
able ground, where the view was intercepted by Avoods and hills, 
this was no easy task ; numerous bands of franc-tireurs were in 
the rear, and from Vesoul to Colmar there were no German 
troops. Various reports about the presence of Garibaldi's par- 
tisan corps on the other side of the Doubs necessitated great 
caution. At the same time, the communication between the 
different detachments was interrupted by high wooded hills, 
without roads, in the possession of the enemy's outposts, which 
were pushed far to the front. Without loss of time the strong 
castle of Montbeliard, lying about three miles (14 English miles) 
to the south of Belfort, was occupied. It lies on the Rhine-Rhone 
canal, and is at the junction of the Allaine, Savoureuse, and 
Lisaine ; it was placed in a good state of defence, and provisioned 
for three weeks. The roads that had been broken up were 
repaired, and the neighbourhood cleared of franc-tireurs. The 
patrols having reported that Dampierre to the south-west of 
Montbeliard Avas occupied by the enemy, General von Tresc- 
kow II. advanced on the 11th November by both banks of the 
Doubs to Clerval, pushing the enemy in front of him, who in 
retiring blew up the bridges and destroyed the communication. 

In front of Belfort there were daily small collisions with 
the enemy's advanced outposts, who were gradually driven 
back on the fortress. In the meantime. Forts Miotte, Justice, 
and the two Perches, having a high command and extended view 
over the ground in this direction, kept up a heavy fire on the 
wretched villages that were used as cantonments, so that these 
were completely destroyed. 

After the fall of Breisach, the division received the order to 
open the siege ; General von Mertens to take command of the 
engineer works, and Lieutenant-Colonel von Scheliha of the siege 
artillery. The technical preparations for the siege met with 
many difiiculties ; above all, the bringing up of the guns, ammu- 
nition, other siege apparatus, and the provisions occupied much 
time, as the transport by rail, via Miihlhausen, could only be 
effected as far as Dannemarie, and from the latter place by road 
through a difficult country. The principal siege train park was 
north of Chalonvillars on the Paris-Belfort road ; another at 
Moval on the road to Delle. 

The next thing was to secure the besieging army towards the 
south, where the French held a line from the Swiss frontier to 
Isle sur Doubs ; constant fights occurred here, and gradually all 
the bridges over the Doubs were destroyed by one party or the 
other. It was above all things necessary for the troops carrying 

36996. X 


on the sieoe to gain ground immediately in front of the fortress ; 
a task which was rendered very difficult by the behaviour of the 
garrison ; they made a sortie against Bessoncourt on the 15th of 
November, with three battalions and six guns, which was 
repulsed by the Neustadt battalion of landwehr ; the enemy 
lost three officers and 200 men. On the 23rd of November the 
combined landwehr regiment, under Colonel Geiicke, captured 
Valdoye and Mont d'Arsot, and that under Lieutenant-Colonel 
Ostrowsky, seized the strongly-occupied villages of Cravanche 
and Essert with Mont Salbert, which lies between them. The 
enemy made repeated attempts to re-capture these, but failed ; 
similar sorties were made on the 24th of November against the 
villao-es of Vezelois and Sevenans, which were repulsed by the 
Zitzewitz landwehr regiment. The enemy could only be driven 
step by step out of his advanced positions ; each separate village 
or wood was the object of a struggle ; the night surprises were 
generally successful, by which means the villages of Botans, 
Aroid-ians, and Bavilliers fell into our hands, and enabled our 
outposts to be advanced to the eastern slope of the Hauteur du 
Mont and to the Tuilerie, that is to say, into the neighbourhood 
of Forts Bellevue and des Barres. From this moment the close 
investment began ; the outposts, however, still extending for a 
distance of from 5 to 6 leagues^ whilst the cantonments of the 
main body occupied from 9 to 10. It was necessary, as soon as 
the besiegers captured the successive positions, to secure them 
with field works, and maintain the utmost vigilance in patrolling. 
The headquarters were removed from La Ciiapelle to Fontaine, 
and the corps, notwithstanding the dispersed positions it occupied, 
had also to cover a line of communication for IG miles (75 English 
miles) in Alsace. 

In consequence of a reconnaissance which had taken place on 
the 16th of November, it was decided to try the result of a bom- 
bardment, as it might, perhaps, influence a capitulation, and also 
because sufficient materiel for a regular siege had not yet arrived. 
To the east of Essert lies a flat-topped ridge, where the batteries 
for this purpose could be constructed undercover of the advanced 
troops ; the construction of Batteries Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, 
armed respectively with four 12-pounders, two short 24-pounders, 
and two 12-pounders, four short 24-pounders, four long 
24-pounders, four 12-pounders, four 27-centimetre mortars, and 
four long 12 pounders was commenced, whilst a demonstration 
was made on the east side of the fortress by Colonel von Bud- 
denbrock's detachment to engage the attention of the enemy. 
The construction of the batteries was completed on the night of 
the 2nd-3rd of December, unperceived by the enemy, notwith- 
standing the moonlight. When the batteries opened fire at 
8 o'clock in the morning, the artillery of the defence replied to 
them with vigour and without intermission. This cost us a loss 
of one officer and 10 men killed and 30 wounded ; our projectiles 
ranged up to the suburbs of Belfort and the neighboiu'hood of 
the castle, without, however, doing much damage to the enemy's 
artillery in their commanding position. The bombardment 


reached its height on the 8th and 9th of December, witli good 
results, against the Faubourg de France ; the artillery of the 
garrison had set in flames the villages of Cravanche, Bavilliers, 
and Essert, In order to draw closer round the fortress, and 
prepare for the formal attack on the Perches, the besiegers' 
artillery was extended towards the right flank ; for this purpose 
the outposts on the south side had to be advanced. In the 
execution of this, on the night of the 14th of December, the 
Deutsch-Crone battalion seized the wood of Bosmont, which was 
diflicult to penetrate, and had been strengthened by abattis, and 
the Konitz battalion took the Grand Bois, where they captured 
an enemy's piquet of one officer and 45 men. On the other 
hand an attack made in the same night against Danjoutin failed, 
partly because it was occupied in great strength, and partly 
because the artillery fire which was to prepare the way for the 
assault had not been sufficiently eftective against the enemy's 
defences on account of the fog. At the same time the enemy 
made a sortie against Bavilliers. Our loss was two officers and 
79 men ; that of the enemy one officer and 80 unwounded 
prisoners. These circumstances made it possible on the night of 
the 17th-18tli of December to build No. 8 battery for four long 
24-pounders to act against And elnans and Danjoutin ; with the 
same object. Batteries Nos. Ha and 9 were thrown up during the 
night of the l7th-18th of December, armed respectively with 
two J2-pounders and four 6-pounders, as well as with two 
27-centimetre mortars. 

It now became necessary to strengthen the existing artillery 
positions to the south-west of the fortress, and to place the re- 
quisite batteries on well selected points at a nearer range. Their 
execution, however, had to be postponed partly on account of 
the continuous rain having cut up the i^oads, which had never 
been good, and thus -delayed the transport of the guns ; and 
partly on account of the want of troops, who were scarcely 
sufficient for the works and the duties under arms ; further the 
seven battalions of the 4th reserve division, who were coming 
to reinforce the Germans, arrived but slowly, and the total of 
the investing army, including the detachments in the south on 
the heights of Montbeliard, was only 22 battalions of 800 men 
each. In the meantime frost had set in, and the arming of the 
batteries could be proceeded with. Batteries Nos. 10, 11, and 
12 were built on the evening of the 24th of December at Bavil- 
liers, the first being armed with four long 24-pounders, and the 
two latter with four 12-pounders each. They were to fire against 
the horn work of I'Esperance, the post of La Ferme and the 
Perches ; then batteries Nos. 13 and 14 were built under great 
difficulties on account of the crround, and armed each with 
four long 24-pounders ; they were to fire against the Forts 
Haute-Perche, and La Justice. The batteries Nos. 10, 11, and 
12, however, did not open fire until the 28th of December, after 
they had been connected by trenches with the batteries on the 

N 2 


left at Epert, and ou the right with the village of Bavilliers. 
In the night of the 28th-29th of December batteries Nos. 15, 16, 
17, and 18 were begun, the first one armed with four 27-centi- 
metre mortars and the remaining "three with four 12-pounders 
each ; they were to 0]3en fire on the 7th of January against 
the village of Daujoutin, still remaining in the possession of 
the enemy, and against the two Perches. Battery No. 19 was 
also built at this date ; it was originally armed with two 21- 
centimetre mortars, and later with two 25-centimetre mortars, to 
throw shells into the town and citadel. 

The first news of the approach of a relieving army under the 
command of General Bourbaki was received on the 25th of 
December, The situation of tlie besieging array was not a 
favourable one. The XI Vth corps stood far ofif at Dijon ; the 
troops of the investment occupied extended positions, whilst the 
batteries and siege train parks were on the side from which 
the enemy was approaching. What was going on on the other 
side of the Doubs behind the enemy's outposts was unknown, as 
the bridges were blown up and other communications destroyed. 
As soon, however, as the news was confirmed the siege operations 
had to be slackened. But the position at Arcey, as well as the 
section of the Allaine, had to be prepared with field works and 
occupied in greater strength ; four 24-pounders were mounted 
in the castle of Montbeliard, the bridges over the Allaine pre- 
pared for blowing up, and the roads from Isle sur Doubs to 
Hericourt and Montbeliard blocked. 

Between the 29th and 31st of December, the besieging army 
was reinforced by a detachment from Alsace under command of 
General von Debschitz, consisting of 3 battalions, 2 squadrons, 
and 2 batteries, so that the total of the investing army was 
raised to 30 battalions, G squadrons, 6 batteries, 2(j companies 
of artillery (of which 7 were Bavarian, 4 Baden, and 3 Wtirtem- 
berg) and G companies of pioneers (to which Bavaria, Baden, and 
Wiirtemberg each contributed 1). The Prussian siege artillery 
before Belfort consisted of 12 companies from the guard, 4th, 
6th, and 7th garrison artillery regiments. The detachment of 
General von Debschitz occupied the line Audincourt-Vaudon- 
court- Croix, where they were in frequent collision with the 
enemy's outposts ; thus, for instance, on the 2nd of January at 
St. Croix with the Liegnitz battalion, when four French officers 
and 200 men were driven over the Swiss frontier. At Arcey, 
also, where Colonel von Bredow was posted with 5 battalions, 
2 squadrons, and 2 batteries, the necessary reconnaissances 
towards Isles sur Doubs led to skirmishes. Under these circum- 
stances the opening of the regular attack, which was now fully 
prepared, had to be postponed. The construction of batteries con- 
tinued steadily nevertheless, and when it appeared that the enemy 
had withdrawn in consequence of the movements of the XlVth 
corps to its left, and that an attack from the relieving army 
was no longer imminent, the necessary movements of troops for 
the intended opening of the formal siege was ordered. As a 


preliminary to this, Captain von Manstein, commander of the 
Schneidemiihl landwehr battaUon was directed on the night of 
the 8th January to sieze the village of Danjoutin, which was 
entrenched and held in force by the enemy. The 5 th and 7th 
companies quitted the wood east of Danjoutin half an hour after 
midnight and, followed by the Gth and 8th companies, advanced 
to the attack of the eastern edge of the village. The attack 
succeeded, and while the 7th and 5th companies pushed the 
enemy out of the houses and from the barricades in the village, 
a company of pioneers immediately put them in a state of 
defence; a company from the 1st and 14th landwehr regi- 
ments endeavoured to cut off the enemy on tlie south-west, 
whilst the 5th and 8th companies occupied the railway station, 
so as to be in position to oppose an expected sortie from the 
Perches, which actually took place soon after, supported by a 
battery that came into action at Fort Bellevue, and was repulsed. 
Notwithstandino; the excellent and well-executed arrano-ements, 
we lost 2 officers and 80 men, and the enemy 3 officers and Q5 
men, exclusive of 18 officers and 700 men made prisoners. The 
building of the batteries made but slow progress on account of 
the frost and the rocky soil. The pioneers assisted in lajdng out 
and completing the battery communications at Ravilliers, and 
afterwards entrenched the village of Danjoutin. Still the formal 
attack could not be begun, as the relieving army was again 

On the 9tli of January, the march of French columns from Cour- 
celles on Arcey was reported. Colonel von BredoAV concentrated 
his detachment there, and exchanged a few shots with the enemy. 
The French advanced from Seloncourt towards Vaudoncourt and 
Dasle against the detachment of General von Debschitz, but were 
repulsed ; on the next day a portion of the detachment made an 
attack on Abevilliers. On the 10th of January the enemy de- 
veloped a larger force with guns, opposite to Von Bredow's 
detachment, but without attacking. General von Werder sent 
information that he was marching on Belfort ; he arrived on the 
11th of January, and all the pioneers and a portion of the siege 
guns were placed at his disposal. 

The positions Abevilliers, Audincourt, Montbeliard, Hericourt, 
Chagey, Frahier were fortified and provided with emjjlacements 
for guns of position, which afterwards had an important influence 
on the successful issue of the battle. The bridges over the 
Lisaine, at Busurel, and others as far as Dello were blown up, and 
the passage of the Ballon d'Alsac to the north of Giromagny 
destroyed by Nagle's Bavarian pioneer company ; the bridges 
lying in the line of retreat had to be restored. Von Bredow's 
detachment in its advanced position at Arcey had assisted 
materially in arresting the progress of the enemy, so that the 
divisions on the march gained time to form up behind the section 
of the Lisaine. 

We must pass over the general description of the battle there. 
General von Tresckow II. took command of the left wing of the 


Prussian position, in addition to that of the investing army. 
General von Debschitz passed under the immediate command of 
General von Werder, and had to maintain a series of fights 
between Doubs and the Swiss frontier. Those troops of the 4th 
reserve division, which had formed a part of the besieging army, 
rejoined it. The 1st reserve division, to whom the task of the 
investment was allotted, had only a small share of the fighting ; 
as, for instance, in the attack on Chenebier, where the fusilier 
battalion of the G7th regiment, in company with Baden troops, 
lost 5 officers and 110 men. During the battle the besieging 
army remained constantly under arms ; the garrison onl}^ made 
two small sorties against the west flank. The bombardment of 
the fortress as well as the construction of the batteries continued 

It was at this time that batteries Nos. 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25 
were built to fire on the citadel. Forts la Justice and Miotte, as 
well as on the hornwork and the main enceinte ; they v/ere 
armed respectively with two smooth-bore and two rifled 21 centi- 
metre mortars, four short French 24-pounders, four long 24- 
pounders, four long 24-pounder?, and five 12-pounders. 

After the departure of Bourbaki's army the siege was again 
carried on with energy. On the night of the 21st of January the 
ground necessary for the security of the right wing of the first 
parallel as well as the village of Perouse were occupied. This 
attack was conduced by Colonel von Zglinicky, commanding the 
67th regiment; the 1st and 2nd battalions, the former being in 
reserve, seized the entrenched woods of Baillis and Taillies at 
midnight, and a landwehr battalion of the 26tli regiment took 
the wood of Morveaux as well as the redoubt there, all without 
firing a shot. At Perouse, on the contrary, there was severe 
hand-to-hand fio-htine: both in the streets and houses, but their 
possession was maintained regardless of the heavy fire from 
the two Perches and from Fort Justice. As a means of re- 
cognition among the columns tlie forcible German countersign 
of "Haut ihn " (strike him) was given. Our casualties on 
this occasion were 8 officers and 17-J men, while the enemy 
lost 5 officers and 93 men as unwounded prisoners alone. Battery 
No. 8, armed with four 12-pounders, had been engaged against 
Perouse ever since the Sth of January. On the evening of the 
21st of that month, the first parallel on the line Danjoutin- 
Perouse against the Perches, together with the communications in 
rear were completed by a working party of 3,000 men, without 
any important interruption from the enemy ; it was only delaj'^ed 
by the ground being frozen to a depth of 1^ feet and the rocky 
nature of the soil. For these reasons the parallels and communi- 
cations could not be completed to the necessary profile until the 
26th of January. The following batteries were built gradually in 
line with the parallels: No. 26 for four 50-pounder mortars 
against the Basse- Perche, No. 27 for four 12-pounders against the 
Haute-Perche, No. 28 for four 60-pounder mortars, and No. 34 
for two 6-pounders and two 25-pounder mortars against the Haute- 


Perche, and to secure the parallel against sorties. The ]-)iincipal 
engineer depot was in rear of batteries Nos. 15 to 18, on the high 
road where it quits Daujoutin at the south-east ; two other engi- 
neer depots were behind the railway embankment, at the point 
where it intersected the approaches. The artillery of the defence 
were at this period, although not very energetic, still fairly 
active. The attack on the Perches was rendei-ed difficult both by 
fire from the castle and Forts la Justice and Miotte as well as by 
the rocky ground, the parapets on which had in some places to be 
formed of sand bags. Notwithstanding these difficulties, the 
second parallel was completed l)y the 1st of February. At this 
period, the construction of mortar batteries No. 29 for eight 
7-pounder mortars, against the Haute-Perche, and No. 80 against 
the Basse-Perche for four 7-pounder mortars. No. 31 for six 
GO-pounders against La Justice and Miotte, and gun batteries 
Nos. 32 and 33 against La Justice and the town, was taken in 
hand. The labour was very severe at first on account of the 
cold, afterwards on account of the water, which in consequence of 
the sudden thaw and rain filled the trenches in some places to a 
depth of four feet ; as the bottom of the trench could not be 
constructed level, but had to follow the natural inclination of the 

There were many pressing reasons for bringing the siege to a 
speedy conclusion, and an assault on the two Perches was there- 
fore ordered for the evening of the 26th of Januar}^ Five 
infantry companies, and one of pioneers were told off for this 
duty. According to the arrangement, three infantry companies 
were to form the attacking party, one on each flank, the third to 
advance against the gorge of the works, two companies to remain 
in support; the pioneers were to blow up the half-sunken block- 
houses in the ditches at the gorge, remove palisades and cut steps 
in the counterscarp and parapet ; a working party, 2,400 strong, 
were drawn up in the parallel, ready, in the event of the assault 
being successful, to continue the trenches up to the Perches as well 
as to construct the connecting line of entrenchment. Colonel von 
Zglinicky commanded the whole. The left column against fort 
Basse Perche pushed forward up to the ditch at a quarter before 
7 o'clock in the evening. Tlie pioneers with First- Lieutenant von 
Bichthofen and Lieutenant Kraatz, jumped down and began their 
work ; the infantry columns pressed forward with them, one 
entered the ditch in front and the other two into the trench-like 
ditches on either side of the gorge. The commandant in expecta- 
tion of such an assault had placed two battalions with a working 
party in reserve in rear of the forts, who, advancing at the right 
moment, repulsed the attack. The result of the attack by the 
right column on Haute-Perche was more satisfactory so far, that 
an undulation of the o-round screened it from the defender's view 
durmg the greater portion of its advance, but beyond that point 
it was checked by the heavy fire of the enemy. The assault 
therefore completely failed. The loss of the right column was 
small, the left column had 5 officers and 250 unwounded men. 


taken prisoners, as they were surrounded by a superior Frencli 
force in the ditches from which they could not escape ; there were, 
besides, 9 officers and 168 men killed and wounded. Both columns 
were much hnpeded by wire entanglements, that were formed 
between the stumps of the trees, where the wood of Perche had been 
felled. The reconnaissances previously undertaken by engineer 
officers, Captain Koch of the Caden pioneers and First-Lieutenant 
von Eichthofen (who was taken prisoner in the assault) failed on 
account of the watchfulness of the French sentries and led there- 
fore to no result. 

After the 26th Januarj^", news of a fresh movement of a con- 
siderable hostile force from Morteau and Hyppolyte, made it neces- 
sary to bring the strength of General v. Debschitz's detachment, 
which had advanced fighting to Blamont and Pont de Roide, 
up to 7 battalions, 2 squadrons, and 2 batteries. General 
V. Debschitz encountered masses of unarmed French troops 
beyond Maiche, who passed over the Swiss frontier. After this 
detachment, assisted by the 4th reserve division, had cleared the 
country between the Doubs and the Swiss frontier as far as 
Pontarlier, it returned. In the meantime the trench work pro- 
gressed rapidly, partly by flying sap, partly by half double sap, 
according as the vigilance of the enemy, the energy of his fire, 
and the weather and time of day permitted. The engineer corps 
had to lament the loss of First-Lieutenant Miiller, who died, and 
of Captains Koch and von Oidtmann, of Lieutenants Adam and 
Longard, who, with many pioneers, were wounded. 

The difficulties of the ground and the disease among the 
troops increased seriously. There was so much sickness, espe- 
cially among the technical troops, that it became necessary to 
order up two additional companies of garrison pioneers from 
Strasburg for the siege. The gun emplacements Nos. 35 and 
36 aojaiust the Haute-Perche, having been constructed and 
armed each with two 6-pounders, opened fire. On the 8th of 
February the two Perches were successfully captured by sur- 
prise. Captain Rose of the engineers, who was on duty v/ith 
his company in the crowning against the Haute-Perche, noticed 
that there were no French sentries behind the rampart.- He 
jumped at once into the ditch, climbed the parapet, called on 
the nearest men at work in the trenches to follow, ordered 
the covering party, consisting of the Gels and Hirschberg 
battalions, to advance, and pressed forward into the interior, 
taking as prisoners 10 of the weak garrison. As soon as First- 
Lieutenant von Weltzien and Captain Pflaume, both of the 
engineers, saw what happened, they agreed with Major Brink- 
mann of the Kirschberg battalion, to make a similar assault on 
the Basse-Perche, which was captured after a short fight. 

On the 19th February, batteries Nos. 37, 38, and 39 opened 
their fire, the two first against the castle, and the latter against 
Fort Justice. They were each armed with four long 2'1-pounders, 
and their construction, apart from certain interruptions, had 
occupied a very long time. 

185 : 

In the niglit of the 9th-10th of February, the connecting 
works between the captured forts and the lodgment in the interior 
were completed. Besides shattered gun-carriages, there were 
found in each fort three partially disabled guns. The artillery 
officers immediately brought their guns out of the nearest batteries, 
by a temporary'' bridge made over the ditch ; and opened fire to 
meet an expected sortie of the enemy. The latter replied with a 
very heavy cannonade lasting several hours, during which, however, 
the works in the gorge had to be continued. We lost in consequence 
] officer (Lieutenant v, SteinkeUer), 6 men killed, and 33 wounded. 
On the same evening the commandant demanded an armistice. 
This was, however, refused, as the commandant requested to 
hold the fortress until the return of the officer who had been 
despatched to the French Government for instructions. In the 
meantime, the following batteries were constructed in the second 
parallel ; No. 40 for four 27-centimetre mortars against the 
castle, Nos. 41 and 42 for six 60-pounders and four 7-pounder 
mortars repectively, to fire against the castle and the farm ; the 
former opened fire on the 1 0th, and the latter on the 11th of 
February. The heights of the two Perches were now turned into 
a formidable artillery position for 60 guns placed thus : 

a. On the right of the Haute-Perche, batteries Nos. 39, 38, 
and 37, armed each with four 24-pounders, and No. 53, 
for four 24-pounders, against the Citadel and Fort la 
h. Between the Haute and Basse Perches, batteries Nos. 34(X, 
43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, and 50, armed respectively 
with four 12-pounders, four 12-pounders, four long 24- 
pounders, four 50-pounders, and two 27-eentimetre 
mortars, four short 24-pounders, four 12-pounders, four 
12-pounders, and four 12-pounders, all to fire against 
the Citadel. 
c. To the left of the Basse-Perche, batteries Nos. 51, 52, and 
36a, armed respectively with four long 24-pounders, four 
short 24-pounders, and two 6-pounders, to fire on the 
Citadel, the west front of the town, and Fort des Barres. 
Finally, battery No. 53, for four long 24-pounders, was con- 
structed south of Perouse, to fire against Fort Miotte. 
After calling the attention of the commandant to this impos- 
ing artillery array, he was summoned, at 3 p.m. on the 13th of 
February, to surrender. Just at this time the expected instruc- 
tions from his government arrived; and the negotiations, which 
were at once begun with Captain von Schultzendorf, of the 
general staff, led to a preliminary armistice, to^ give the ^ com- 
mandant an opportunity of learning the situation of affairs in 
France, as well as to enable him to prepare for the capitulation. 

There was no interruption in the engineers' works, who pushed 
out a sap from Basse-Perche against the castle during the night 
of the 14th of February, and only ceased the advance towards 


On the afternoon of the loth of February, the commandant 
announced himself prepared to surrender the fortress. The 
neo-otiations continued until 4 o'clock in the afternoon of the 
16th of February. A convention was concluded by which the 
commandant of the fortress. Colonel Denfert-Rochereau, was to 
hand over the town, the forts, and the war materiel, to General 
von Tresckow II. on the IStli of February at mid-day ; the 
garrison (with the exception of the guards) were to quit the 
fortress before that hour with all the honours of war, in con- 
sideration of their gallant defence. The garrison were marched 
by two roads, in echelons of 1,000 men, to the department Saone 
and Loire. 7,000 were marched off on the 1 7th of February, and 
7,500 followed on the 1 8th. According to the report that was 
received, the garrison numbered 17,000, of whom 11,500 left the 
fortress, leaving 2,000 sick behind ; the remaining 3,500 were 
accounted for by deaths, desertion, and as prisoners. The total 
losses of the besiegers, including those in the open field, were 
2,100 men. 

On the 18th of February, at 10 o'clock in the morning, the 
powder magazines and mines were occupied by the German 
troops ; at 12 o'clock they took possession of the gates, and 
relieved the guards ; about 280 guns were captured in the 
fortress. At 2 o'clock p.m. there was a triumphal entry by the 
Porte du Vallon. A short religious service was held in the 
entrenched camp, after which General von Tresckow II. called 
for cheers for his Majesty the Emperor, and the allied German 
princes, whilst the Prussian flag was hoisted on the castle and 
saluted with 101 rounds fired from the captured guns. The town 
itself, as well as the suburbs, had suffered severely from the 

After the fulfilment of the conditions of the treaty of peace 
with France, Belfort was restored to the French. 



The foregoing pages contain a short description of the fortress- 
warfare in front of those places, which, lying on the north and 
east frontier of France, barred the march of our armies, and show 
how their reduction was accomplished by operations on a more 
or less extended scale. According to the title of the book our 
task would therefore be completed. 

But it seems to us desii-able to narrate in this appendix as a 
sequel, those occurrences which relate to the conquest of some 
small fortified places lying within the zone of operations of the 
1st army (the citadel of Amiens and the small fortress Peronne), 
although neither a special besieging army with the accompanying 
technical troops, nor regular siege artillery were employed, nor 
even the special technical preparations for siege operations 
undertaken. We consider this due to our brave 1st army, that 
fought so well under most difficult conditions, and, on whose 
operations, these fortresses had such an important influence. We 
also wish to add a description of the gallant and successful coup- 
de-main for the capture of Rocroy. 

Advance of the 1st Army. 

After the capitulation of Metz, the 1st army, commanded by 
General of cavalry Freiherr von ManteuflTel, consisted of the corps 
under Lieut.-General von Bentheim, the Vlltli corps under 
Lieut. -General von Zastrow, and the Vlllth corps under Lieut.- 
General von Goeben, the brigade of General von Senden, and the 
3rd cavalry division under General Count von der Groben. 

The first task, a difficult one, that fell to this army^ was the 
evacuation of Metz, and the transport to the rear of 150,000 
prisoners, also to hold Metz ; to besiege Thionville, Longwy, 
Montmedy, Mezieres, and in part Verdun, for the security 
of our line of communication with Paris and the west, and 
afterwards to maintain these, whilst advancing against the 
north-west of France ; to overthrow the newly-formed French 
armies at Lille and Amiens ; finally the siege of La Fere had to 
be undertaken as well. General v. Zastrow, with the Vllth 
corps and the brigade of General v. Senden (19th and 81st 
regiments of the Srd reserve division), had the duty allotted to 
liim of holding Metz, and carrying on the fortress-warfare on the 


northern frontier of France, in the manner that we have already 

Further, the troops before Verdun under General von Gayl 
had to be reinforced, so that after the detachment had left for 
La Fere, and the 1st division had been despatched for the 
investment of Mezieres, there remained for operations in the 
open field only two incomplete army corps and the 3rd cavalry 
division. On the 7th of November the army began its march 
to the west of France by two roads. The 1st corps by Briey, 
Spincourt, Damvillers, Busency, Eethel, Laon, and Noyon ; the 
Vlllth corps, on the left, took the road by Etain, Verdun, 
Varennes, Eeims, Soissons, and Compiegne. 'The Srd cavalry 
division, accompanied by infantry and artillery, was several days' 
march in advance to clear the Argonne Forest of franc-tireur 
bands. Afterwards it rejoined the main body and marched in 
close connexion with it. 

Just as the army reached the Meuse, Verdun capitulated, and 
a very important road junction thus fell into our hands. In 
this forward movement, the army gave brilliant proofs of its 
marching capabilities; having in 14 days accomplished a dis- 
tance of from 33 to 36 miles (155 to 169 English miles), measured 
in a straight line, or 2|- (11 f English miles) per deiy. As the 
route of the 1st corps led within from 2 to 4 (9 to 18 English 
miles) of the French line of fortresses, it was necessary, in order 
to cover the flank, that Montmedy and Mezieres should be 
observed or invested, in the manner already described in the 
histor}'- of the sieges of those places. 

On the 20th of November, the head of the columns reached the 
line of the Oise, the right being at Noyon and the left at Com- 
piegne, and it was at this time that the 3rd cavalry division, 
with artillery and two jager battalions attached, reported the 
presence of considerable hostile forces at Amiens under General 
Faidherbe, and also at Rouen. In order to prevent the junction 
of these two French armies, the march was continued on the 
23rd of November by Montdidier and Noyon, whilst at Le 
Quesnel and Mezieres there were small aflfairswith the advanced 

On the 26th of November, the Vlllth corps ascertained at 
Thennes, about 2 miles (9^ English miles) to the south-east of 
Amiens, that the enemy Avas prepared to offer- resistance before 
the latter town with a strong force, and that the necessary 
dispositions ought to be made to give him battle next 
day. It should be observed that whilst the Vlllth corps was 
up to its full strength, the 1st corps consisted of only one (the 
3rd) infantry brigade, one cavalry regiment, and the corps 
artillery; on the following day, however, the 1st division, 
having been relieved before Mezieres by the detachment of 
General v. Senden, arrived in sufficient time to take a part 
with its leading troops in the battle, the details of which we 
must pass over. In consequence of the successful issue of the 

180 ■■ 

engagement the outposts of the Vlllth corps were established 
within I a mile (2^ English miles) of Amiens. 


Amiens is a manufactviring, industrial, and open to^vn of 
70,000 inhabitants, lying on the river Somme, navigable here for 
small sea-going ships, and which flows through the city in three 
branches. The cathedral, built between the years 1220 and 1228, 
is celebrated as a masterpiece of pure and well-executed French- 
Gothic architecture. To the north of the town, and on the right 
bank of the Somme, which is joined half a league to the east by 
the river Noye, lies the citadel ; it was built in the reign of 
Henry the Fourth, and consists of five regular bastions, with 
very high profiles, and the usual arrangements. A strong 
well flanked drawbridge leads from the citadel over the ditch 
to a second bridge over the Somme, used for the regular 
traffic of the town. Between the citadel and the town is a sort 
of esplanade, so that the nearest houses are about 300 paces 
from the former. The ground in front of the citadel on the right 
bank of the Somme is quite open, and swept by the guns from 
the fort. 

Amiens is the junction of many important roads and railways ; 
the latter go to Rouen and Boulogne sur Mer, as well as Arras, 
Tergnier, and Paris. On the approach of the enemy, the bridges 
over the Somme in the neighbourhood, and also the railroads 
for a considerable distance, had been destroyed, and the fortifi- 
cation of the town was commenced to secure it from a coup-de- 
main. Some old entrenchments were restored for this purpose, 
and armed with guns, whilst barricades were erected on the 
roads leading to the gates. The suburbs de la Hauboye, de 
Beauvais, and de Noyon were favourably placed for the defence 
of the city on account of their advanced position ; and also the 
suburbs de la Maurice and St. Pierre lying on either side of the 
south front of the citadel. Further in advance, on the south and 
south-east of the town, shelter-trenches had been carefully con- 
structed in suitable places and gunpits thrown up at skilfully 
selected points. But the completion of all these well-considered 
preparations for the defence was prevented by the rapid course of 
the military operations in the immediate vicinit}^ of the town. 

On the morning of the 28th of November, the city was occu- 
pied by the 16th division, under Lieutenant-General von 
Barneckow, having been evacuated during the night by the 
French garrison, which consisted of three brigades ; the citadel 
remained in possession of the enemy. Under these circum- 
stances, the commandant. Captain Yogel, an Alsatian by birth, 
was summoned to surrender, but he refused flatly. Nothing 
remained therefore except to capture it by force of arms. For 
this purpose some Prussian detachments, led by the mayor of the 
town, occupied the houses opposite and nearest to the citadel, 
cutting ofl" all communications with the city, from whence thej"" 
annoyed the defenders on the ramparts, who replied with artil- 


lery and musketry fire. As 'this led to no result, the citadel was 
ordered to be bombarded ou the 29tli of November by the heavy 
batteries of the 1st and 8th field artillery regiments. The 41st 
regiment and two squadrons of the Lithuanian dragoons, both 
under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel von Hiillessen, of the 
former, were ordered to take part in the expedition. It started 
at 9 o'clock in the morning from St. Nicolas, three quarters of a 
mile (3^ Enghsh miles) south-east of Amiens, with orders to 
gain the right bank of the Somme ; as it was only from that side 
that the citadel could be bombarded successfully without injury to 
the town, which was to be spared on account of having sur- 
rendered unconditionally. At the same time Lieutenant-Colonel 
Gregorovins, of the 1st East Prussian field artillery regiment, 
discovered a position on the town side, from whence he could 
fire on one front of the citadel. The ground in front of the 
citadel towards the country was not favourable for the bom- 
bardment. There were certainly a few elevated points at a 
range of from 2,000 to 3,000 paces, but the citadel could not be 
seen well from them, even on the clearest days, and it would 
have been impossible to have prevented injury to the town. The 
difl&culty of finding a suitable passage over the Somme, and the 
lateness of the hour, induced General von Manteufiel to postpone 
the bombardment, to the 30th of November. Colonel von 
Kamecke, commanding the 8th artillery brigade, who was 
entrusted with the conduct of the intended operations, ordered 
the batteries of the Vlllth corps to take position on the 
right bank, and those of the 1st corps to take position on 
the left bank of the Somme. These imposing masses of 
artillery were still on the march, when the white flag was seen 
hoisted on the citadel ; the batteries, nevertheless, took up 
the positions that had been ordered. They did not open fire, 
as the terms of capitulation were concluded by 10 o'clock 
in the morning ; this was no doubt hastened in conse- 
quence of the energetic commandant having been wounded 
on the previous day in the infantry attack on the citadel ; his 
successor soon found himself pi-epared to hand over the fortress. 
The basis of the capitulation was that of Sedan. 

Before the occupation by detachments of the 44th regiment, the 
ofiicers of engineers inspected the mines of the place carefully. 
A considerable quantity of war materiel was captured, 11 officers 
and 400 men were taken prisoners and 35 guns fell into our 
hands, all smooth-bores with the exception of two Armstrongs. 
The defences, that were to have secured the town against assault, 
and whose construction had been interrupted by the operations 
in the field, were now taken in hand by the Prussians, and 
completed, so as to be prepared for all eventualities. On the 
14th of December, and a few days before, the greater part of 
the German garrison quitted the town, partly to make recon- 
naissance at a distance from Amiens, partly to endeavour to 
obtain the release of a railway detachment and its covering 
party of 50 men that had been surprised at Ham ; the citadel 


only remained occupied by troops. Although the town of 
Amiens contributed the supplies and services for the Prussian 
troops and hospitals with the greatest readiness, still in the 
pecuKar position of affairs, it became necessary to announce by 
proclamation that any act of hostility on the part of an inhabi- 
tant, an^^ attack on the citadel by French troops from the town, 
as well as any occupation of the town by hostile troops, would 
lead to a bombardment of the city ; however, the necessity for 
carrying' out these threats did not arise. The artillery of the 
citadel had occasion later to fire on some detachments of the 
enemy, M'ho, advancing from their positions on the north of the 
fortress had ventured within range ; we merely relate this fact 
as it was the only instance during the campaign in which French 
troops were fired upon from a French fortress. 

P Yvonne. 

The forti'ess, notwithstanding its small area, belongs to the 
first class, and is one of those that were kept in a good state of 
defence. It lies in the Somme in a marshy and unwholesome 
lowland between Amiens and St. Quentin, 2^ miles (11| Euo-lish 
miles) east of Albert and the same distance south-east of 
Bapaume, on the roads leading from the latter place to Ham, 
and from the south to Cambrai. 

The fortifications date from diff'erent periods, and have there- 
fore a very irregular trace ; some of the ramparts are connected 
with a castle which appears to be very ancient ; it is included 
within the works. The main enceinte is in the form of an lono- 
rectangle, in front of it and to the north lies the suburb of de 
Bretagne, to the south the suburb of Paris, both defended by 
crownworks. The west side of the fortress consists of four 
irregular bastioned fronts with small ravelins ; the east, on the 
other hand, consists of an almost straight line of fortification 
without a single outwork. On the ramparts of the town are 
four mediseval towers, one of which in 1468 served as a prison 
for Louis the Eleventh when he fell into the hands of Charles 
the Bold, whilst at the foot of another Charles the Simple died. 
Afterwards the town belonged to Burgundy, but was formally 
ceded to France by Charles the Fifth after the peace of Madrid 
in 1526. On the 26th of June 1815, the Enghsh in their 
advance on Paris stormed the place at the first rush. The 
fortress is surrounded by flat-topped ridges which ai'e useful for 
artillery positions at long range. 

The fortress in itself has little strategic value, as it is not 
capable of a good defence ; but its importance in this war was 
increased as it threatened the movements of the 1st army in 
rear, and blocked the railway communication of Amiens with 
the French Northern Railway at Tergnier. From these causes 
its capture became a matter of necessity, particularly after the 
battle on the Hallue, when the eneni}^ again attempted to break 
out of his quadrilateral of fortresses. Lieutenant- General v. 


Barneckow received the order to carry out this with 10 bat- 
talions, some of them very weak, and eight squadrons of his 
own and of the 3rd reserve division. The guns available for 
the attack were 36 field guns of the Vlllth corps and 18 guns 
of the 3rd reserve division, besides a small park of 12 garrison 
guns brought from the citadel of Amiens. As, in the course of 
the bombardment, it became evident that the artillery materiel 
was insufficient, a portion of the siege train that had been 
engaged before Mezieres was ordered up, but it never came into 
use, as the railway before P^ronne was blocked with traffic. 

The peculiar situation of the 1st army made special dis- 
positions necessary, for covering the siege of P^ronne, in accor- 
dance with which 11 battalions, 4 squadrons, and 24 guns of the 
15th division, under the command of Lieutenant-General von 
Kummer, were advanced towards Arras ; on the left at Bucquoy 
was Lieutenant-General Count von der Groben with 1 bat- 
talion, 12 squadrons, and 6 guns ; on the right, at Fins, was 
Lieutenant-General Prince Albert of Prussia with 3 battalions, 
12 squadrons, a.nd 18 guns. Lieutenant-General von Goebenhad 
the chief command over the troops of the investment as well 
as of the covering forces. 

After several unimportant skirmishes with reconnoitring 
parties from Pcronne, the fortress was blockaded on the 27th of 
December. It appeared that the place could be bombarded best 
from the heights on the north, west, and east, from which posi- 
tion there were good objects for the batteries to aim at, so as to 
meet the artillery of the place on favourable terms, without danger 
of sufiering from its fire on account of the nature of the 
ground. The 'guns opposite the north front were very well 
placed for successful practice, as they faced the long side of the 
fortress. There being no intention of constructing regular 
batteries with approaches, the guns were placed so as to take 
advantage of natural cover, or they were protected by epaul- 

On the 28th of December, the batteries on Mont St. Quentin 
and across the roads leading over the ridge to Clery and Athies, 
opened fire, striking not only the fortifications, but also the 
town. The artillery of the place was restricted to smooth- 
bores,^ and therefore unable to cause much da- .^age to the distant 
Prussian guns. The besiegers only fired a^ a moderate rate, 
which in the later period of the bombardment was due to special 

The advance of the French army from the quadrilateral of 
Arras, Cambrai, Valenciennes, and Douai, supported by Lille, 
on the 2nd of January 1871, for the relief of the invested and 
bombarded fortress, was in connexion with the siege operations 
which were being successfully carried out against Pdronne by the 
Prussians. On the same day the weak brigade of General v. 
Strubberg repulsed a division of the enemy at Sapignies on the 
road from Arras to Bapaume, and took five ofiicers and 250 men 
prisoners, though another, division forced back the small Prussian 


detachments posted on the railroad. General von Kummer 
therefore concentrated the 16th division at Bapauine, where it 
came into serious collision on the 3rd of January, the result 
causing General FaidherLe to retreat behind his fortresses 
and relinquish all operations for the relief of Peronnc. The 
enemy took the direction of Arras, followed by the Prussian 
cavalry ; the infantry and artilleiy returned to Peronne, as it 
did not seem advisable to renew the fighting on the 4th of 
January with such reduced forces, and the risk of a scarcity of 
ammunition. The battle interfered so far with the bombardment 
of Peronne that the ammunition wagons of the batteries in 
action before the place were ordered into the field to meet any 
possible contingencies that might arise from a scarcity during 
the action ; after the enemy had been repulsed, the bombardment 
was continued with renewed vigour. 

On the 9th of January negotiations for a capitulation began, 
and were concluded during the night of the 10th of January. 
Various circumstances combined to force the able and energetic 
commandant. Colonel Gamier, to take such a step ; probably the 
most important one was the repulse of the relieving army after 
it had advanced Vvdthin five leagues of the place. The injury 
done to the town by the Prussian batteries was very considerable ; 
more than 50 houses Avere in ruins, the church and hospital had 
become a prey to the flames. Forty-seven garrison guns, and a 
quantity of war materiel of every kind were captured, and the 
garrison of 3,000 men, consisting of 750 of the 4ord regiment, 
and 150 marines, besides moblots and mobiles of the Somme 
and Pas de Calais, became prisoners of war. 

The repairs to the fortifications were immediately taken in 
hand, and the fortress carefully secured against a coup-de-main, 
and occupied by a sufticient garrison. 

With the capture of Peronne the whole line of the Somme 
came into possession of the German army, and became an im- 
portant point of support in their later operations. It may be 
taken for granted that in future wars the value of Peronne will 
be as great as in the present, and that the French Government 
will probably have the old-fashioned fortifications extended and 


i Rocroy. 

The small fortress of Rocroy, situated close to the Belgian 
frontier, lies at the junction of the roads leading by Givet and 
Charlemont to Belgium on the north, and to Rethel on the 
south ; it is situated on a hilly plateau in the forest of the 
Ardennes 1,000 feet high, about 19 miles north-west of Mezieres. 
The town was built in the middle of the forest by Francis the 
First to protect the frontier of Champagne; in 1643 it was 
besieged by the Spanish troops from the low countries, and in 
1815 it was captured after a short investment by the Prussians 
under Prince Augustus. 

3S996. Q 


The fortifications, which are simple, consist of a bastioned trace 
of five sides with dry ditches arranged in their essential points 
on the principles of Vauban. As the works have a high profile, 
the masonry could be seen and destroyed from a distance. To 
prevent this, the ramparts are surrounded by a screen, which in 
front of the salients of the west bastions, takes the form of a 
ravelin or lunette, advanced into the glacis, and brings a cross 
and grazing fire on to the ground in front. The separate works 
are very well defiladed, both vertically and horizontally. The 
east and west fronts have each a gate with the usual defences. 
With the exception of the two principal powder magazines there 
are no bombproofs for barracks, hospital, or magazines. The 
armament had been completed during the war to the necessary 
extent; nearly all the works had been provided with expense 
magazines, and all other requirements for an artillery defence. 
There are no large outworks, but two small earthworks in the 
form of fleches have been constructed in advance of, and con- 
nected with the fortress in order to command the road coming 
from Paris by Eethel and Mdzieres, and also that from Givet. 
The immediate neighbourhood affords favourable and elevated 
positions for gun emplacements, although the ground is much 

The 14th division had successfully accomplished its task by 
the capture of the fortresses of Thionville, Montmedy, Mezieres, 
and Longwy on the northern frontier of France, and there was 
no intention on the part of the German commanders, of con- 
tinuing the warfare against the places lying further to the 
westward ; a prolongation of the fortress-war would have 
entailed a great sacrifice of time and materiel, so that it was 
abandoned for this as well as other reasons. The division 
received orders to rejoin the Vllth corps, and to proceed by rail 
to the south, where General von Werder required a reinforce- 
ment for his undertakino's against General Bourbaki. A few 
days rest were given to the division after the fall of Mdzieres 
for concentration and the completion of certain arrangements. 
If anything, therefore, was to be undertaken against their 
inconvenient neighbour, the fortress of Rocroy, no time could be 
lost. It should be remarked, that, although there could be no 
doubt about the result of a blockade or bombardment of the 
place, still the loss of time and materiel w^ould have been dis- 
proportionate to the value of the fortress. It was resolved, 
therefore, at once to try and take the town by a coup-de-main, 
that is to say, to attack it unexpectedly ; and this method was 
adopted because the profiles of the work made the risk of an 
assault too hazardous. After the fall of Mezieres the enemy 
quite expected that an attack on Rocroy would follow ; a bom- 
bardment seemed inevitable, but the roads being bad, it was 
thought that the difficulties of transporting the siege guns \Yould 
occupy some time. 

Mezieres capitulated on the 2nd of Januar^^ 1871, and on the 
4th a detachment of 5 battalions, 2 squadrons of hussars and 


6 field batteries and a company of pioneers was, by order of 
General Schuler von Senden, commanding the 14th division, 
put in motion for Rocroy. The expedition was under the com- 
mand of Major-General von Woyna II., and arrived before the 
place on the evening of the same day. The early twihght pre- 
vented reconnoitring in front of the fortress, and the garrison 
were completely surprised by the unexpected appearance of the 
enemy before the gates, which was a proof of the energy and 
precision with which the operation was carried out. As soon 
as the cavalry had cut off all communication between the fortress 
and the country, the troops took up their position on the invest- 
ing circle, partly to prevent the garrison from breaking out, and 
partly to cover the ground from whence the bombardment was 
to follow. When everything was prepared, at 10 o'clock on the 
morning of;. the 5th of January, the commandant was called 
upon to surrender, which he refused. At half-past 10 o'clock fire 
was opened. A thick fog interrupted the view, but flames were 
seen to break out in the town and the bombardment was con- 
tiDued until 5 o'clock in the afternoon. The artillery of the 
gamson was not idle ; it ^replied vigorously, but Avithout much 
effect, as the Prussian batteries were screened either by natural 
cover or hasty entrenchments. It was already in contemplation 
to give an order to cease firing and assemble the troops, when 
another attempt was made to induce the commandant to sur- 
render, by pointing out to him the uselessness of protracting 
the defence, which, as was found out afterwards, the gardes 
mobiles were anxious to continue. 

On the evening of the 5th of January, tlie place was handed 
over, the gates being first occupied by two companies. The 
garrison consisted of about 160 gardes mobiles and 120 men of 
the artillery of the line and engineers, who had shown them- 
selves particularly active in the defence ; 800 of the garrison 
became prisoners of war ; one stand of colours, some arms, pro- 
visions, and munitions of war, as well as 72 heavy guns, were 
captured. Among the prisoners were two Prussians who had 
been detained as spies. The exertions made by the troops 
engaged against Rocroy should not be passed over without 
notice ; they were on their legs for 80 hours, notwithstanding 
the extreme cold, combined with fog and snowstorms. 



The following fortresses fell during the war, thanks to the 
energy of our highly trained siege artillery in co-operation with 
the other branches of our army. 

(1.) "Without defence : Liitzelstein and Montbeliard. 

(2.) After immediate capitulation : Vitry, Laon. 

(3.) After the first bombardment : Lichtenberg, Marsal, and 

the citadel of Amiens. 
(4.) As the immediate consequence of the loss of a battle in 

the field : Sedan, with the army of MacMahon. 
(5.) After a long investment : Metz, with the army of Marshal 

(6.) After a long investment and bomdardment : Pfalzburg 

and Paris, with its enclosed army. 
(7.) After repeated bombardments of several days' duration 

with siege and field artillery : Toul, Neu-Breisach, 

Soissons, Verdun, La Fere, Montmedy, Mezieres, and 

(8.) After a bombardment of several days with the opening of 

a regular siege : Schlettstadt, Thionville, and Long^Yy. 
(9.) After a bombardment of several weeks and the completion 

of the regular siege, with the exception of the passage 

of the ditch and the storming of the breach or interior 

retrenchments : Strasburg and Belfort. 

Bitsch was not surrendered until the conclusion of the peace, 
after it had been invested during the whole of the war, and 
bombarded at the commencement. 

Rocroy fell by a coup-de-main after a bombardinent -sv^ith field 

The garrisons of Belfort and Bitsch were allowed to leave with 
military honours in recognition of their gallant defence. 

Besides the enormous amount of war materiel taken from the 
beaten and captured armies, and the materiel, arms, and ammu- 
nition, as well as barrack, magazine, and hospital stores, found in 
the fortresses, 5,300 garrison guns, most of them smooth-bore 
and some of which were damaged, fell into our hands, while 
1,400 officers and 54,700 men, who had formed the garrison of 
the towns, were led into captivity. 


Printed by George E. Eyre and "William Spottis-woode, 

Printers to the Queen's most Excellent Majesty. 

For Her Majesty's Stationery Office. 

[7702.— 500.— 10/77.] 


Part I. 



By captain HOME. 


Printed ttndpr the Supeiiideudence of Her Mojesty^s Slalioneri/ Office, 


W. CLOWES & SONS, 13, Cliarinp; Cross; HARRISON & SONS, 59, Pall Mall: 

W. H. ALLEN & Co.. L3, Waterloo Place ; W. MITCHELL. Charing Cross ; 

LONGMAN k Co.. and TEUBNER A- Co., Paternoster R,iw; and 

HENRY S. KING c^- Co . 6.\ Cornhill : 

Also hif 

A. k C. BLATK. Kiiinblugh: P. ROBERTSON. 90. St. Vincent Street. Gi.asooav 

ALEX. TIIOM. Abbey Street, and E. PONSONRV, (xnafton Street. DiBr-tx. 

Pricf Rifili Ipp ■ipPiiee. 

[H. & S.— P 1952—500—11 1 72.] 


When a great Military nation pulls down her Military Institu- 
tions and builds them up again on a new foundation, the changes 
that she makes, and the causes of those changes, are lioth interest- 
ing and instructive. 

The reforms that are taking place in the French Army are 
so great, and the circumstances under which they are made so 
peculiar, that much interest attaches to them. 

The Committee that has been appointed to prepare Bills for 
this purpose has divided the subject into two portions : — 
1st. The Law on Recruiting; 
.■^nd. The Law on Organization. 

The former alone has been brought before and passed the 
National Assembly, and a translation of the Law, with the Com- 
mittee's Report, is herewith given. 

It is proposed to give a similar translation of the Law on 
Organization, and some account of the new French Military 
Administration, so soon as the Committee has reported and the 
Assembly approved of the Report. 

These translations will form Parts IT. and III. of the series of 
which this is Part I. 



By the Marquis Ciiasseloup Laubat, Member of the National 




Chapter I. 


Great disasters carry v.-itli them much instruction. It is 
wise to understand them ; it is courageous to profit by them. 
Far, then, from allowing itself to be cast down by its misfortunes, 
a nation which refuses to fall, studies the causes of its defeat, 
reforms everything that enfeebles it, must finally raise itself, 
even greater, after those trials which Providence inflicts on nations 
as on individuals, the better to point out their duties, and elevate 
to a higher place those who can support trial. 

This, gentlemen, is what you wish — this is what we liope 
France will do. 

For this reason you daily seek out everything that from its 
nature may enervate the country. Y^ou seek to excite its energy, 
and you do not despair to see her at the cost of some efforts, 
some sacrifices, preserve her place in the world. 

* This Committee is composed of MM. de Lasteyrie, President ; General Baron 
Obahaud-la-Tour, Admiral Montaiguac, Vice-Presidents ; Bet hmont, diaper, Colonel 
Carron, and Iho Marquis de ilornay, Secretaries ; Tlie Marquis de la Kochetliulon. 
d'Aboville, de Combarien, General Billot, Admiral Dompierre d'Hornoy, Cornelis de 
Witt, General Loysel, General Ticlor Pellissier, General Duerot, the Marquis de 
Vorgue, Admiral La Ronciere Le Xoury, Daliirol, de Carayon-Latour, tlie Duke de 
Crussol, General Martin des Pa'lieres, Colonel de Chadois, Admiral Saissct, General 
Frebault, Fresneau, Aelocque, IMarquis d'Audelarre, Passy, Baron Vast Vimcux,. 
Audren de Kerdrel, Flye-Sainte Marie, Yarroy, the Marquis do Chaiseloup Laubat, 
Geneial Chanzy, Sarrette, Baron de Barante,' de Balleroy, General Trochu, Brun 
(Var), the Duke d'llarcourt, Cjunt Octave do Bastard, Bouisson, General Charel»u 
de Meice. 

(489w©) B 

AVith this vicvr', you resolved that one of your Committees 
should report on the laws relating to the recruiting and organization 
of both the army and navy. 

This Committee your officers have selected to represent all 
shades of opinion in the Assem.bly, justly persuaded that all the 
men who compose the Assembly, no mutter whence they come, 
or what may be their antecedents, will bring to such a task, but 
one feeling, that of devotion to their common country. 

We then, in the name of that Committee, propose to report 
on a portion of the task entrusted to us. 

According to your instructions this task embraces ])oth the 
recruiting and organization of the army. 

The law under which the army is recruited l)elongs as much to 
civil as to mihtary law, it is addressed to the entire population, 
it details the duties devolving on it, for the defence and security of 
the country, and has great influence on its chief interests, the 
development of agriculture, commerce and industry ; the progress 
of arts and sciences, the good order of its finances. 

The organization is entirely a military law, which, in addition 
to the composition and administration of the various corps, deter- 
mines the conditions under wliich officers are promoted, their 
status, and regulates the strength of the general staff. 

At present we propose to deal only with the recruiting of the 
army, on it is based the constitution of the array, and it con- 
sequently must fill the chief place in our miUtary institutions. 

We do not seek now to discuss portion of our defeats are 
due to the faults of existing institutions. 

We have first to ask ourselves if the method of recruiting the 
army w'hich has hitherto prevailed in France, is in consonance witli 
the situation of the country as regards Europe, and with the ideas 
of the people ? 

Doubtless, the law of recruiting, as it at present stands, has 
given us gallant armies, and even latterly in the midst of our 
■ reverses, when our soldiers although under unfavourable circum- 
stances were able to come to close quarters, they have shown no 
degeneracy, and that tliey are still, as in Algiers, the Crimea, and at 
Magenta, the worthy descendants of those who fought at Fontenoy, 
Fleurus and Jena. It would be unjust, ungrateful not to loudly 
proclaim this fact. 

But, gentlemen, in order that a law for recruiting the army 
should give what the exigencies of modern war demand, it is not 
sufficient that the soldiers sent under the colours should show 
bravery and self-denial, it must also inspire the whole population 
with an elevated feeling of duty, and when the defence of the 
country is at stake a fraction of the citizens must not be left in a 
state of apathy; above all, the requisite number of defenders must 
be forthcoming. 

Let us examine if this has been the case, but before doing so 
let us briefly review the past. 



Without going back to that period in our own history when to 
fight was a privilege, it may be remembered that under the ancient 
monarcliy, and more especially under Louis XIV, the army was 
recruited by voluntary enlistment by the captains of companies 
aiKl the colonels of regiments, who gave for this purpose commis- 
sions to subordinate officers, termed racoleurs (" bringers^'), paid 
in proportion to the number of men they brought. 

But in a short time the inadequacy of this method of filling up 
the gaps in the army was recognized, and a subsiduary means of re- 
cruiting was adopted by calling out the provincial militia; each village 
having tofurnish a contingentfullyequipped foraservice of twoyears. 

Selected originally by the inhabitants of the parish — these 
militiamen were subsequently drawn by lot. 

Ycu are aware that during the wars of the Hevolution our 
armies were formed as follows : — 

First by the enlistment of men who, moved by patriotic feelings, 
volunteered for that purpose. 

Next by levies to compose new battalions called to arms by 
t!ie words the " country is in danger." 

Then by calling on 300,000 National Guards from 18 to 
40 years of age, men not married, or widowers witliout children. 

Finally, by a levy en masse until the enemy had been expelled 
from the territory of the Republic. 

If by these means an army of 400,000 men was formed and 
tlie foreigner by a sublime effort finally driven out, assuredly the 
victory v/as due not to our military institutions, as once, order and 
liberty returned the necessity of organizing a regular and permanent 
recruiting was recognized. Voluntary enlistment did not suffice, 
and enlistment for money could not fill the voids. 

The Conscription was then established ; the Conscription we 
should remind you had been proposed to the constituent Assembly in 
IJSO, but had been rejected as at variance with the liberty of the 

General Jourdan had the honour, in the year VI, to propose 
and carry through the law, which is the point of depai'ture of all 
our legislative enactments on this subject. By this law all young 
meii from 20 to 25 years of age were divided into five classes. 

The conscripts comprised in ail five classes ircre attached to the 
various corps compusiny the Ar)ny; they ivere enrolled by name, and 
no substitution ivas allowed. 

They could not, however, be sent on active service without a 
special law; the youngest in each class being then summoned first 
to join the colours. 

Compulsory personal service was at that time the rule for all ; 
all might be called on during five years, after which they were 
absolutely free in time of peace, but were, in time of war liable to 
be called on, according to circumstances. The conditions requisite 
to fuitil, to become an officer, were also laid down by this law. 
Grc:;t aiid fertile principles were enunciated bv it, which have, 

B 2 

nevertheless, been much abused, but which remain the greatest 
legislative enactment of that period^ and which gave France 
power to struggle against all Europe. 

Notwithstanding the formal declaration in the year VT, that sub- 
stitutes were not allowed, it must l)e acknowledged that from the 
year VII, the princiijle of substitution re-appeared. It is to be found 
in the law of the 28 Germinal, and since then has found a place 
in all laws, notably in those of the years VIII and XIII, which 
introduced the drawing of lots to determine which young men of 
each class should be first enrolled with the colours. Some of 
these laws, however, placed substitution under certain restrictions ; 
thus it was allowed only in favour of those who ivere deemed unfitted 
to sustain the fatigues of war, and of those who, by continuing their 
studies, were deemed more useful to the State. It also entailed cer- 
tain responsibilities, and necessitated the payment of a sum of 

In any case, conscription, that is to say, an obligation to serve 
imposed on all young men capable of bearing arms, in each class, 
existed from the year VI vintil 1814. And if substitution ex- 
isted during that time, it was bv no means fi-ee. It is also known that 
the anticipation of the various classes gave rise to great exhaustion 
during the last years of the empire. And it may be recollected 
with what favour the Act by which the Restoration abolishedthe 
conscription was received. 

Subsequently to the events of 1815, when the armies were 
disbanded, an attempt was made to unite their debris, so as to 
preserve some troops for the country. Departmental legions, 
which took the name of the department where thev were formed, 
were created. Discharged soldiers were induced to re-engage, it 
being considered that they were not entirely free from military 
service; others voluntarily enlisted. 

Each legion being recruited in the department where it was 
formed, — the conscription being abolished, — no means of filling 
gaps but bv voluntary enlistment were provided. 

The inefficiency of such enlistment soon showed itself, and 
when after some years' trial, it became requisite seriouslv to 
re- organize tiie military forces of France, it became also requisite 
to return to some regular and certain means of obtaining recruits. 

An illustrious General and wiiter, Marshal Gouvion Saint Cyr^ 
as minister, had the courage, unfortunatelv very rare, to resist 
the party in power, proj^ 1818, the law known by his name. 

This law organized recruiting in the spirit in which it lias 
subsequently been conducted. It fixed the strength of the contin- 
gent to be embodied each year at 40,000; it divided that number 
amongst the various departments ; it fixed the method of counting 
the young men of each class ; established a system for drawing lots, 
to determine the individuals to be furnished by each canton, and 
fixed the length of service at six vears. 

And, with the object vi having a reserve which could feed 
the army, the law directed that non-commissioned officers and 
men sent home on completion of their period of service should. 

in case of \vai% under the name of veterans, perform home 
service, the duration of which was also htuited to six years. 

In tirre of peace no miUtary service was asked from these 
veterans, and in time of war, except under the authority of a 
■special enactment, they could not, be called on to quit their 
military division. 

But while this law sent into the army all the young men that 
the ballot designated as forming a portion of the contingent, It, 
with the object of tempering the severity of military service, 
admitted exemptions and dispensations. 

These exemptions were based on infirmities, want of height, 
and upon particular circumstances, which showed that the indi- 
viduals to which they were applied could not leave their families 
without doing them an irreparable injury. 

The dispensations were particularlv for those men who 
benefitted the State by continuing their studies before beginning 
a useful career. 

There was this difference between exemption and dispensation, 
that the young men who were exempted did not diminsh the 
number of the contingent, their places being taken by others in 
the order of the lots. The young men who obtained dispensations 
were, on the contrary, deducted from the number of the contingent, 
in certain cases the dispensation was only provisional, being condi- 
tional on the youth following the career for which he was studying, 
and for which he obtained a dispensation. 

This law authorized substitutes, and also an exchange of 
lots amongst young men who had been drawn. 

With the object of forming the cadres of the army, the law of 
1818 required that candidates for the post of officer should fulfil 
certain conditions, serve a fixed period in each grade before 
promotion, and reserved one-third of the vacancies amongst the 
sub-lieutenants for deserving non-commissioned officers, and fixed 
that two-thirds of the j>romotions to the ranks of lieutenant, 
captain, and major should be by seniority. 

This was, as you see, a law both for the organization and 
recruiting of the army, and also for the promotion of the officers, 
and that too, at a moment when France invaded, was stiii 
occupied by foreign armies. 

Face to face with such painful events, gentlemen, the words 
security, and independence of territory, have more significance than 
at other periods. Minds do not then run riot on absurd theories, 
of universal peace, or on the resiscless power of masses of men, and 
armaments hastily im]')rovised. 

Then the ideas of thoughtful men are no longer regarded as 
chimeras, but everything that can preserve the greatness of the 
country is gladly accepted. 

It must be added that the law of 1818 was not a conscription 
proper ; conscription compelled all young men of ong class to 
serve, and used the ballot only to determine the order in which they 
should be enrolled. 

Recruiting as fixed by the law of 1818, applied only to the 


contingent, whicli was divided amongst il.c departn:ents, and 
young men not selected by lot were completely free from military 
service: no future demands could be made on them. This 
explains how, from the outset, this law was so easily adopted, and 
never produced tlie complaints consequent on the conscription. 

However, the departmental legions, with which the law of 1818 
did not interfere, failed to produce the advantages expected from 
them. The fact that it was requisite to take for each legion men 
of the department in which it was raised produced difficulties 
of many kinds. This method of recruiting also caused great 
differences in the value of the various portions of the army, and, 
consequently, interfered greatly with its homogeneity. Conse- 
quently, in 1820, the 94 departmental legions were converted 
into 80 regiments of the line and light infantry, recruiting for 
which was carried out generally throughout France. 

Finally, and we beg to direct attention to this fact, as dealing 
with the important question of reserves, the veterans on furlovxgh, 
after six years' service in the regular army, do not appear to have 
been as useful as was anticipated ; it was therefore considered 
preferable — 

1st. To raise the contingent from 40,000 to 60,000 men, 
one portion of which would not be enrolled, but remain 
at the disposal of the State. 

2nd. To fix the length of service at eight years in place of 
six, and free all the men sent home from further service. 

This was the law of the 9th June, 1824. The contingent of 
60,000 men, you will observe, was then estal)lished, as the con- 
tingent of 40,000 had been in 1818, and the Government had 
power to deal with it without reference to the Chambers, except 
inasmuch as it had to seek grants of money. This power remained 
until 1830; then it was decided, as a principle of parliamentary 
government, that the strength of the contingent to be enrolled 
each year, both for the army and navy, must be fixed each session. 

The system of reserve, organized in 1818, was thus abandoned, 
and the system of having a contingent larger than could be 
possibly enrolled was adopted, a certain portion of the contingent 
being sent on furlough, subject to recall when required. 

This was in accordance with the views of Marshal Soult, when, 
in 1832, he considered it desirable to alter some of the arrange- 
ments of the law of 1818. 

The law of the 21st March, which, in addition to the measures 
we have here described, maintained the recruiting as established in 
1818, laid down the principle of the division of the contingent into 
two portions, both placed at the disposal of the Government, in 
the following words : — 

"The army is composed of two portions, the propoi'tions of 

" which are fixed by the annual estimates, viz. : — 
" 1st. The effective strength with the colours. 
" 2nd. Men left on leave or sent home on furlousrh.^' 

These men remained under military autliority for seven, years, 
the period fixed by the law, and could at any time be incorporated 
with the army, it being believed that this system gave a reserve 
at the disposal of the Government to meet all eventualities. 

At that period, movements of troops were not rapid, and they 
could not be quickly united into great armies, it was consequently 
believed tbat there would always be a certain time available to 
train the men ; and it was hoped that at the moment of war, when 
the young men who bad not served were called under the colours, 
they would come forward with more alacrity than those who 
already knew the monotony of barracks and the drav»' backs of the 

This, then, was the system which has prevailed in later years 
(it is desirable to bear it in mind), — a reserve of men left at home 
— a reserve sometimes more considerable, you will see shortly, 
than the portion of the contingent actually enrolled. 

From this time, the annual estimates regularly fixed the nmnber 
of the contingent at 80,000 men; lastly, the law of 1832 allowed 

But, gentlemen, as luxury spread in France, and ne^v pursuits 
were opened up for young men, they seemed less ambitious of 
following the profession of arms ; the number of substitutes in- 
creased, and the means employed to obtain them occupied public 
attention, and, m(jre than once, motions on this subject were 
inti'oduced into the Chambers. 

There were in short, both in the army and in the country, 
symptoms ^A■hich could not be ignored. In 1841 and 1843, 
various proposals were made to apply a remedy to the acknow- 
ledged evil. In 1849, proposals were made by General 
Lamoriciere, with the object of enabling old soldiers to profit by 
the money paid for substitutes. 

But these proposals fell to the ground; and, in 1855, the law 
of the dotation of the army put an end to substitution. But in doing 
so, it most unfortunately introduced a system which almost 
entirely did away with personal service; for if, since the yearVII, 
substitution was allowed, the State was no party to it. The 
young man called to serve under the colours had to serve, or 
bring a man in his place, so that personal service was performed 
either by the individual or his substitute, as directed by the laws 
of the years VII and Vlll, the law of 1855 completely changed 
the whole state of affairs. Whoever could pay the price fixed 
by the administration tor exemption was completely exonerated 
by the State from all military service, and deemed to have 
discharged his duty to the country. 

This freedom from all obligation to serve was not the only 
bad point in the law of 1855 ; there was yet another not less 
objectionable ; it introduced into the army ideas of pecuniary ad- 
vantage, which immediately benefitted the man who was desirous 
of joining or remaining under the colours; and, consequently, can- 
celled that principle of our military law, — "In the French army there 
" is neither bounty nor any payment whatever for engagement.^' 


The following were, after some years, the consequences of this 
law of exemption : — 

Out of 32,000 non-commissioned officers, 23,000 had re- 
engaged with bounty.* 

More than 23,000 exemptions had been claimed annually.f 

The number of that portion of tiie army not furnished bv the 
conscription had risen to 283,000, of which number 164,000J were 
Government substitutes — men engaged or re-engaged for money. 

Doubtless, the re-engagement of such a large number of non- 
commissioned oflScers, tlie composition of whose cadres play such 
an important part, ought to give great solidity to the army ; and 
it was this idea, and the wish to improve the situation of old soldiers, 
that produced the law. But it is also certain thut, on account of the 
large number of engagements and re engagements with bounty, it 
was impossible to incorporate with the army each year more than 
between 20,000 and 30,000 men of the contingent voted. Ex- 
ceptional circumstances were requisite, to call on the second 
portion of the contingent, and if it was enrolled, the men had no 
military instruction. 

It was then seen that some instruction for the men belonging to 
the second portion of the contingent was requisite, and, conse- 
quently, they were drilled for three months the first year, two 
jnonths the second year, and one month the third, as fixed by the 
circular 10th January, 1861. 

Finally, in 1863, it was determined, with the view of diminish- 
ing the number of re-engagements of non-commissioned officers, 
whose cadres were entirely blocked, to delay the payment of the 
bounty until their ultimate discharge, paying meantime 3 per cent. 
on the amount. 

Such was the state of affairs ; it had already occupied the minds 

* Prior to 1855 the number of non-commissioned officers who had re-engaged did 
not exceed 3,000 to 4,000. 

t The number 2S,000 is an average ; but when war broke oiit in 1859 it showed 
the evils of the system ; the price o exemption had been fixed at 92Z., and had never 
been increased when the contingent was raised from 100,000 to 140,000 men, 42,000 
exemptions were then asked for and given. Tliese exemptions had to be compensated 
for in 1860. 

X Permanent strength (1865-1866) — 

1st. Officei-s attached to regiments, intendance, staff employes 

of the artilleiy and engineers . . . . . . . . 24,897 

2nd. Departmental gendarmes (not including officers) . . 20,200 

3rd. Voluntary engagements without bounty (serving 7 years) 55,230 
4th. Voluntary engagements with boimty . . 16,016 1 

5th. Government substitutes 50,097 > 154,777 

6th. Men re-engaged with bounties . . . . 88,664 J 

(Not including 10,000 gendarmes i^ho had re-engaged.) 
7th. Re-engaged without boimty ' 
8th. Foreign corps (not including French) 
9th. Native corps (not including Fi'ench) 
10th. Veterans 

lltli. Retained as a punishment. . 
12th. Not belonging to the service (workmen, musicians, &c.) 

Total . . 

. . 




. • . i 




ins, &c.) 




both of the Government and all those who clung to the greatness 
of their country, and knew that a powerful mi'itarv org miza^ion 
could alone preserve it. Such was the state of ati'airs when the 
events of 1866 forced into prominence facts which many persons 
had previously refused to see. 

It was then evident that the constitution of our militiry forces 
did not correspond with the exigencies of iha new state of 

Doubtless, our army offered an imposing array; it had pre- 
served its great qualities. But it could not be concealed, on the 
one side, that the number of men we could bring into the field 
was far below that which a neighbouring power could rapidly 
put on foot; and, on the other hand, that we had no real reserve 
organized to support and take the place of the armv, or even fill 
up the gaps that war would produce. 

Judging from official returns, it appears, that after deducting 
the troops requisite to garrison Algiers, the gendarmerie, and all 
the men included in the number 400,000 of the army, but not 
properly combatants, that France had not more than 270,000 to 
280,000 men to garrison her fortresses and place in line of battle. 
This number (400,000 men) was the actual strength the estimates 
allowed to be maintained ; but it was not, we hasten to remind 
you, the number of men that the law of the contingent placed at 
the disposal of the Government. 

Thus, during the Crimean war the army was raised to 500,000 
men, by summoning the second portion of the contingent ; but 
to keep it to this strength, it was requisite to have a contingent of 
140,000 men for three years. When that war terminated, it was 
seen that the contingent must be 100,000 men if the normal 
strength of the army was to be 600,000 men ; and when the 
Italian war broke out, the ne(;essity of having a contingent of 
140,000 men was acknowledged, and this must have been con- 
tinued if that war lasted. 

It must be borne in mind, gentlemen, that the number of the 
contingent voted each year is very far from putting at the disposal 
of the military authorities a number of men equal to the number 

The contingent is reduced by the number of men requisite for 
the navy, and also by those le2;ally exempted, so that a con- 
tingent of 100,000 men hardly places 80,000 at the disposal of the 
War Minister.* 

* Analysis of the result produced by tlie incorporation of a contingent, 100,000 

men, under the laws of 1832 and 1868 — Men. Men. 

Contingent . . . . 100,000 

Ist. Number of men tliat certain joarishes could not 
supply owing to the numbers of the lots being 

exhausted . . . . . . . . , . . . 90 

2nd. Naval conscripts 2,023 

3rd. Pupils at the Polytechnic School . . . . . . 57 

4th. Employed in public education . . . . . . 1,140 

5th. Pupils in ecclesiastical establishments . . . . 1,06 


In any case, looking to the leceul cvciils in Gerniany, it was 
acknowledged " tliat the military force of France should consist of 
*« 800,000 men, — viz., 400,000 in the regidar army and 400,000 in 
" the reserve ; in addition to which it was requisite to form an 
" army for home defence, clothed, drilled, and capable of being 
" mobilized under the pressure of extraordinary circumstances, 
*' such as a threatened invasion of the country." 

These ideas were those which produced the project of 1867, 
brought forward by Marshal Niel. To obtain the proposed object, 
this project required — 

1st. That the entire contingent, after deducting those who were 
exempted or whose services were dispensed with by the 
law of 1832, should be put at the disposal of the Govern- 
ment (about 150,000 men annually). 

2nd. That the annual finance law should divide each class 
enrolled by lots into portions, one of which should be 
incorporated with the regular army, the other with the 

3rd. That the length of service in the regular army should be 
five years, at the expiration of which time the soldier 
should serve four years in the reserve. 

4th. That the young men who were not incorporated with the 
regular army should serve four years in reserve, and five 
years in the National Guard " Mobile." 

5th. Lastly, that service in both the regular army and the 
reserve should count from the 1st July of the year, when 
the recruits were placed on the rolls of the corps. 

This, it must be acknowledged, was compulsory service to a 
certain extent for the entire class placed in the regular army or in 
the reserve, yet the principle of exemption was maintained, 
and young men incorporated with the regular army, and those 
composing the reserve might exchange with men belonging to 
the National Guard " Mobile," or obtain the latter as substitutes, 


6th. Having obtained great prizes . . . . . . 2 

7tli. Discharged the day of the final review . . . . 683 

8th. Unfit for the army 774 

9th. Left at home as being ttie supporters of a family, 

2 per cent. .. 2,042 

loth. Dead ; omitted as liaving been included in error 304 

Total 8,176 

Eemalniug for the army and navy . . . . . . . . 91,824 

Naval contingent.. .. .. ., .. .. .. 9,000 

Eemaining for the army. . . . . . . . . . . . 82,824 

Young meii who have voluntarily engaged, or who already 

belong to the service by indenture or commissions . . 3,400 

Leaving as the actual number of men a contingent of 100,000 

men adds to the army . . , . . . , . , . 79,424 


loth hen belonged to the latter forc^, Mhich the 1 .w proposed 
to create. 

This Guard was composed of young men wlio, not h;.ving 
served in the regular armj'^, had served four years in tlie reserve ; 
of all those who, under the law of 1855, were exempted from 
service, as well as of those who had obtained substitutes for service 
in the reserve. The length of service in the National Guard 
*^ Mobile ^^ was fixed at five years. 

Under this system it will be observed that all the young men 
of each class, except those exempted or dispensed with by the law 
of 1832, were enrolled for military service from 20 until 29 years 
of age. Being for the portion selected by lot five years in the 
regular army and four years in the reserve, for the portion not 
serving in the regular army, four years in the reserve and five years 
in the National Guard '' Mobile." 

It consequently fcdlowed that the reserve was composed partly 
of old soldiers who had served five years with the colours, and 
were from 25 to 29 years of age, and of young men of 20 to 21 
years of age who had not been incorporated with the army. 

This project appeared, however, to the legislative body to 
impose too heavy a tax on the population, and after a discussion, 
to which we need not now do more than refer, the law of the 
1st February, 186S, was passed, differing from the Government 
proposition, it maintained the principles of the law of 1832, tiie 
yearly contingent l^eing divided into two classes : the first, com- 
posed of young men incorporated with the army ; the second^ of 
those who were left at home. 

The length of service was fixed at five years, after which the 
men served four in the reserve. Service was to count from 
the 1st July of tiie year of enrolment, which was important,^- 
exoneration was suppressed, substitution and exchange of numbers 
was allowed; and after five years' service with the colours, 
re-engagement gave a right to a high rate of pay. 

The law also established, as was asked, a National Guard 
«' Mobile." 

This guard could only be called out by a special law; it was 
composed of all the young men who, on account of the nurnljers 
they had drawn, were not included in the contingent, and of all 
those who had obtained substitutes ; tinally, of all those exenpted 
by the action of the law of 1832. 

Length of service in the National Guard "Mobile" was five 
years, the officers being nominated by the Chief of the State. 

Finally, after allowing the revising councils to grant dis])onsa- 
tion to those who had families to support in the proportion of 
10 per cent, in peace, and 4 per cent, in case of war; and hnving 
established certain punishments for breaches of discipline, the law 

* The operation of tlie census, drawing np tlie lists, the cli-awinp; of lots, the 
action of the council of revision, could only be performed after the 1st January of 
each year, and necessarily took some months, consequently the full period of service 
■was never actually fulfilled. 


■directed that the yoing men composing the National Guard 
*' Mobile "— 

1st. Should take part in drills in their own parishes ; 
2nd. At company aid battalion assmblics, which should take 
place in the company and battalion districts. 

But, the law added, each drill or assembly must not cause the 
loss of more than one day to the young men drilled, and these 
drills and assemblies can take place only 15 times in the year. 
You can thus see the spirit of the law of 1868, its object was first, 
— by having a length of service of nine years (live in the regular 
army and four in the reserve), to put at the disposition of the 
Government nine contingents, thus forming, if each contingent 
were 100,000 men, a force of about 800,000 men ; preserving the 
system which existed, of leaving a part of the contingent at home, 
and organizing a system of reserve which should be like that 
formed by the law of 1818, since in effect this reserve was com- 
posed partly of soldiers who had served under the colours for five 
years, or, who in the second portion of the contingent, had be- 
longed to the army for five years. 

Lastlv, an attempt was made to form at once, under the name 
National Guard "Mobile," a general reserve, into which all young 
men who on any account whatever were not included in the con- 
tingent had to enter. In this way, this law established universal 
compulsory service. 

But at the same time it must be observed that in imposing on 
the young men composing the National Guard " Mobile " drills 
and assemblies which shouhl produce a loss of onl^'^ one day, and 
could only be repeated 15 times in the year, the law did not give 
any cflicient means of instruction for the men composing this 
portion of the army. 

In addition, it must not be forjjotten that this organization was 
hardly drafted when the war of 1S70 broke out. You are aware 
that cadres for only a very small number of companies and batta- 
lions had been then formed. But we also know% having witnessed it, 
the generous efforts of the various departments to hasten the 
formation of those batteries and battalions which marched full of 
courage and devotion ; and vou have seen on many occasions 
how these men, taken but the dav before from their peaceful 
occupations, hardly knowing how to load their firelocks, have 
given proof of true courage, and shown what they could do, had 
the institutions of their country but given them habits of discipline, 
and a better military education. 

Such, gentlemen, is a precis of the various laws on recruiting 
in our country. We were anxious to pass them all in review 
before you, to show on what ideas they were conceived, and upon 
■what principles they were founded. 

Now that you, in your turn, have to determine how the mili- 
tary forces of France are to be organized, it appears advantageous to 
recall the history of this subject. 

Affairs are in a worse state than those our fathers knew. The 


sacrifices we must make are greater ; on this point we must not 
deceive ourselves. 

Doubtle'^s it is to be regretted on the score of civilization that 
Euroj:»e siiould be compelled to keep up millions of men read}' 
to take the field, but this must be so ]on^ as the elements of a 
balance of power have to be sought. Fur in the midst of civilized 
nations conquests can but be transitory. But whilst we wait we 
have at our side a power ready made, who, laborious, well tauglit 
and disciplined, can fling numerous armies on our naked frontier. 
We cannot hesitate, let us therefore boldly begin the work. 


Gentlemen, the problem you have to solve is a difficult one. 
Its solution has been sought for many years, when the state of 
things was far less comj^licated than at present ; and yet the 
ablest men, those most conversant with the subject^ could not 
agree on what was best to be done. 

But now that armies have been brought to such perfection, 
new and formidable weapons have been discovered, and since those 
powerful engines, powerful not only for civihzation and commerce, 
but also for war — Railways — have given a power of moving masses 
of men suddenly and rapidly, and throwing them quite un- 
expectedly on the country to be invaded, the problem has indeed 
become most complicated. Amid the great changes in the science 
and art of war, in the formation and mobilization of armies, 
doul)t!ess some general principles remain cmstant, but to apply 
them, serious obstacles must be overcome ; and it is only by com- 
promises tiiat can satisfy everyone that they can be overcome. 

Thus, to give large armies, a great number of men must be 
enrolled under the colours; but if the^e men are withdrawn for a 
long period from their ordinary pursuits, society suffers. If too 
short a period of service is fixed, the men do not acquire the 
qualities of real soldiers, and the cadres do not acquire sufficient 

To reconcile these conflicting elements the constitution of the 
army must be studied. 

The time requisite to make a soldier of the different branches 
of the service must be fixed; what constitutes a solid cadre must 
be determined ; and then the problem how, in addition to the regular 
army, a force sufficient to strengthen, replace, and fill its gaps can 
be found, nmst be solved. 

From another stand point of view, the effect of the proposed 
system must be considered ; its effect on the development of 
population, upon civil pursuits, upon agriculture, commerce, in- 
dustry, the sciences and arts; lastly, the financial effect of the 
scheme, and whether the finances of the State can support it. 

Tills is nut all, important as these questions are, there are 
perliaps others of a different c'ass, of still higiier importance. 

We refer to the effect the law of recruiting must have on the 


feelings and the manners of the nation. In a country which requires 
a powerful army, but where a great number of the citizens can, on 
account of wealth, excuse themselves from military service, it is 
probable that by degrees the puljlic spirit will' become profoundly 
altered. Amidst the dangers and reverses of the country hearts 
will no longer vibrate with patriotic feelings, a sort of egotism will 
rule men's minds, and men will gauge the common misfortune but 
bv that portion they themselves, as individuals, have to sustain. 

In France, thank God, we are not yet at that point. The past 
has left us so much that is grand that we may yet struggle against 
the enervating doctrines preaclied to us. In the midst of our dis- 
asters we had one consolation, it was to see men, hitherto strangers 
to the military profession, hasten to meet the summons to arms. 
Witliin these walls, v/e need not recall the many noble examples 
given on the field of battle, where death levels all distinction of 
rank. But, gentlemen, for a commonwealth, courage is not every- 
thinii;. To make it powerful and great other virtues are required. 

The more democratic a commonwealth is, the more obedience 
to a superior, and the law, the more military and civil discipline 
are needed ; and we dare to say it, the greater severity for all who 
violate these laws is requisite. At this price only can order and 
liberty be maintained. Is it impossible to have a law of recruiting 
such that it will inspire these feelings and produce these habits ? 
Your Committee thinks it possible, and its labours have been 
guided by these ideas. 

The morals of a country cannot be reformed by legislative 
enactments ; modern society in the midst of the luxury diffused 
throuoh all classes by industry, commerce, and the arts, in the 
midst of progress in every direction, each day producing new wants, 
cannot be compared with those ancient socieUes, where a legislator 
could by his own will, dealing with small numbers of people, issue 
laws from which sprang great and fruitful reforms. 

But the influence of institutions on men is also known. It is 
-acknowledged that there are in the history of nations moments when 
they must draw themselves together, so to speak, and collect their 
energies, in order that they may not slide clown that slope, down 
which falling nations too quickly descend. 

Our hopes, our efforts, v.ill doubtless meet with more than one 
sceptical objector ; for in this France, for SO years so agitated, so 
torn, where all forms of government appear to have been tried, 
where all authorities have been destroyed — raised — but to be again 
destroyed — what has remained constant, what principle is un- 
altered ? Has not each revolution been one ruin more on the 
ground; one doubt more in the minds of men? 

Yet we have confidence in our countrv, we believe that its mis- 
fortunes — perhaps even on account of its misfortunes — it requires 
enerjiy only to lay the dangers which menace it, and to place it 
once more in its proper position in the world. We do not hesitate 
to think that the legislative enactments you have ordered us to 
prepare, cannot but have some influence on the ideas and habits 
of the people. 


It is from these various points of view, gentlemen, that your 
Committee has regarded the task entrusted to it. It has devoted 
many meetings to this purpose, it has studied the greater number 
of the questions raised in the projects sulimitted by you, and it has 
examined the vai-ious systems which h;ive been produced during 
the course of the discussion. 

It has been acknowledged that the regulations of 1&63 cannot 
give the results that were expected from them. We will explain 
why, in another part of our report, it has been further acknow- 
ledged that these regulations are very far from attaining the object 
that it appears desirable to reach. 

But if its opinion is formed on this subject, it has not yet (we 
must acknowledge) decided on many points that m.ust be settled, 
before arranging all the propositions that should be laid before 

It has then only decided on certain general principles, from 
which, to a great extent, the remainder must flow, and which, in 
any case, must be the frontispiece of the law. It has therefore 
desired to submit these principles to you l^efore going further. 

It is good that the country should know them, and know the 
spirit in which the law, on which its armed force must be based, 
has been conceived. 

This is why we have separated the first section, which contains 
the general arrangements, and which has been unanimously agreed 
to by the Committee. 

This section embraces seven articles, which are rather a declara- 
tion of principles than the development and application of what 
flows from those jDrinciples. 

1st Section.— General 1)i::;positions. 

Article 1. 

Every Frenchman is liable to personal military service. 

Article 2. 

There is in the French army neither bounty in money, nor 
payment of any kind for enlistment. 

Article 3. 

Every Frenchman, who is not declared unfit for all military 
service, may be called on from the age of 20 to that of 40 years, to 
form a portion of the regular army and its reserves, according as 
the law directs. 

Article 4. 

Substitution is abolished. 

Dispensations from service, according to the conditions specified 
in this law, do not give complete exemption. 

Article 5. 
Men wiih the cjlours are deprived of the elective franchise. 


Article 6. 

Every armed and organized body of men is under martial law, 
and forms a portion of the army under either the Minister for 
War, or the Minister for the Navy. 

Article 7- 

No one can serve in the French Army who is not a French- 

The following are excluded from and have no title to serve in 
the army : — 

1st. Those who have been guilty of felony. 

2nd. Those who have been guilty of a misdemeanour and 
imprisoned for t\\ o or more years, or have been placed 
under the surveillance of the police, and deprived of 
municipal, civil, or family rights. 

Before submitting this section to you, gentlemen, we asked 
the President of the Republic, and the Minister of War to 
examine it. 

What is now being dealt Mith, you will observe are but general 
principles, and do not affect the organization of the military forces, 
and need not interfere in any way with the task to which the 
Governnient devotes itself in such a praiseworthy method; but as 
the principles we have enunciated must one day have a consider- 
able influence upon the army and on society, we considered it 
right that we should first hear the views of the Government on the 

The Chief of the Executive Povrer and the Minister of War 
attended a meeting of tlic Committee, and it followed from that 
meeting that the Committee and the Government were agreed on 
several important points, and only on the question of substitutes 
was there anv difference of opinion. 

The study of the details at the proper moment will, we believe, 
greatly reduce this divergence of opinion; nay, we hope it will 
ent rely disappear. 

However this may be, it is most desirable that you should see 
the spirit in which the declarations we have made are submitted 
to you. 

Personal military servic3 for all Frenchmen is not deemed 
unfi ting. 

It compels every man from 20 to 40 years of age to answer the 
summons of his country when its defence or internal security is 

It prevents his throwing his share of this duty on others. 

It compels those who enlist voluntarily to be disinterested. 

It forbids all interference of the army in political matters. 

It suppresses all armed bodies who do not form a portion of 
the army and are not under military law. 

Iiastly, it declares that njne but Frenchmen can be admitted 
into the Ficnch Army, and t lose guilty of disgraceful crimes are 
excluded from a share in that honour. 


We propose to give you, as briefly as possible, some remarks on 
eacb of these Articles. ^Vlule it is requisite that their bearing 
should be clearly understood, it should not be exagoeratcd. 

The first Article — " All Frenchmen are liable to personal 
" military service '' — is the basis on wliich the whole edifice that 
we would raise rests. 

It is requisite that every one should know from his infancy 
what he owes to the defence of his country ; it is requisite that he 
should prepare himself for his task, and that he should not for one 
moment imagine that he has the power to withdraw himself from 
the burden when it falls on him. 

In all situations society protects him ; it is requisite that he in 
his turn should be ready in all situations to protect society with 
all his powerS; both of body and mind. 

This principle is not new, for, not to quote the law of the 
year VI, which says, "All Frenchmen are soldiers and are bound to 
'•' defend the country," does not every law on recruiting proclaim 
this obligation in a general way ? 

If, on account of considerations to which we will have to 
revert, these laws have in their application tempered this principle, 
they have yet maintained it. The last law on this subject, that at 
present in force, savs,v,-ith reference to the home army (the National 
Guard ''Mobile ^'), " that it must act as an auxiliary to the army 
"in the defence of fortresses, coasts, frontiers, and the maintenance 
"of order." Has not the law of 1SG8 disregarded the greater 
number of the exemptions previously granted ? Have not all 
young men been ordered to march ? Has not th.e entire country 
responded to the appeal ? 

We repeat there is nothing new or surprising in this principle; 
it is that on which all our laws of recruiting have been founded. 

So far as the general principle goes, and so long as nothing 
more than was implied in previous laws which submitted all young 
men to tlie recruiting law was intended, this proposal received no 
opposition from the Government. 

But we must not conceal from you, that in our eyes this 
principle, as we have laid it down, is of far v»'ider application than 
ever was contemplated in any former law. 

We have been induced to ask you to base your law on this 
principle by viewing it from two different stand points, and in 
order that two distinct interests may be benefitted. 

Undoubtedly, when this obligation is imposed, when we say 
that every Frenchman owes personal military service, either in the 
army or its reserves, we seek tlie power of enlarging the army 
and putting a much greater number of men at the disposal of the 
State, in order that the masses of men who can invade this 
country may be met by masses of at least equal strength ; we are, 
moreover, desirous (and this will be explained hereafter) that every 
man, to spare himself the ennui of military service, may seek to 
prepare himself beforehand, and thus reduce the expenses of the 

But other motives, perhaps of a higher and more elevated 



cliaracter, have, as we have already explained to you, induced 
us to proclaim the principle of coivijndsory service. 

First, there is the homage due to the feeling of equality — a 
feeling which amongst the envious and jealous seeks to degrade all 
to the lowest level : but which we. on tl\e contrary, seek to make 
a lever to elevate all. 

When in any assemblage of men, especially in an army v.liere 
discipline exists, all classes are mixed together, we may feel 
sure that noble ideas will prevail, good examples will be followed, 
and that the whole tone will be raised. Further^ we may be sure 
that, when performing the same duties, obeying the same rules, 
bound by great common interests, sharing the same privations 
and the same dangers, all classes will be knit more closely together, 
and will see much that now appears to divide them disappear. 
Lastly, we may be sure that under such circumstances men will 
appreciate one another, and have a mutual sympathy for each 
other; the different gradations of rank which the force of cir- 
cumstances always produces in all societies, far from then being 
an object of jealousy and hatred, will, on the contrary, produce 
true respect. 

If vou doubt this, gentlemen, ask old military men who, having 
settled down in the country, meet every day old soldiers who 
belong to the corps in which they have served. Further, ask naval 
ofHcers who amid trials and dangers of all kinds have livcel in 
common with the men of their crews. Ask them what they have 
learned, wdiat they have found at home, when they have met again 
the brave men whose labours and perils they have shared. 

But this is not all, we must pay homage to and do justice to the 
army. Look at what now takes place in the array, how industry, 
education, feeling, persoiial dignity, the duty of men towards their 
fellows, respect f^n- superiors, good fellowship with equals, is 
increased and developed amongst the young men who join the 
army annually. Follow these men after their discharges to then' 
homes, you widfind them the most sought after, the most respected; 
they carry there the qualities they have cultivated, the habits they 
have learned in the army. 

Let us say it boldly, geritlemen ; the army is the great school 
for the country. Future generations will come and imbibe there 
feelings of patriotism, discipline, and honour, and the nation will 
receive a manly education which cannot but influence its destinies; 
thus raising the tone of the army itself, which will then be 
entered by men of the well-to-do classes, and the country in return 
will receive men improved and civilised by the arm)". 

The principle we propose for your adoption is then from both 
points of view a healthy one. 

In the terms of Article 2, there is no longer bounty in money 
or payment of any sort, for engagement. This, as you are aware, 
is the principle which has existed since the revolution of 1789; 
the law of 1818 used the same words as we now propose, and 
they were also reproduced in the law of 1832. If they are not now 
included in the existing law of recruiting they have been unfortu- 


natcly erased for the time. It is requisite that it should be known 
that men who join tlie army voluntarily do so, not for money, but 
from a desire to serve the country in a noble career. 

But while we repudiate all ideas of bounty for engagement or 
re-engagement, we are far from saying that the posiiicm of men 
who after a certain number of years wish to remam in the army 
should not be improved, nor that the comforts of old soldiers 
should not be augmented. 

Thus, additional pay, increase of pension, are by no means 
interfei-ed w-ith by this Article. What we prohibit is the bait 
(pardon the expression) used to lure men to enlist. But payment 
for actual service rendered should be respected what form soever 
it may take. 

Article 3. "Every Frenchman who is not judged unfit for all 
*' military service mav be summoned from the age of 20 years to that 
" of 40^ to serve in the regular armv and its reserves, as fixed by 
" law." 

Thei*e are in this Article two things to which we must direct 
your attention. 

Fu'st, it declares that every Frenchman who is not unfit for all 
military service may be called on for service in the army and its 

Second, it fixes the limit of this service at from 20 to 10 years 
of age. 

The first of these Articles you will observe limits exemptions 
to those granted for such infirmities as debar the individual from 
forming a portion of the army, or one of the numerous auxiliary 
services which folL^w all armies. 

Thus, the post office, the hospitals, the telegraphs, the commis- 
sariat stores, &c.. 8cc., can evidently utilize many men who would 
be unfit for the ranks. When the law says '"unfit for all 
military service," it means not only the active duty of the soldier, 
but for all those other services which do not require the physical 
qualities requisite for a soldier. 

Perhaps at first sight it may appear strange that all those who 
cannot completely fulfil the duties of a soldier are not freed from 
the obligation to serve. But it must be remembered that the law 
is conceived on the basis that each man must serve his country 
according to hisaljilities, and that tlie greater part of these auxiliary 
services take out of the ranks many men who should figure there 
as combatants; taking this into consideration, it is only just and 
right to declare that these duties may be performed by young 
men wdio are now entirely exempted, and believe themselves to be 
perfectly free of all duties towards the country. 

The second ])roposition is equally important, and its meaning 
should be clearly understood. 

ItfoUows that from the age of ?0 to 40 years all Frenchmen have 
a serious duty to perform, that for 20 years the country wdl have, for 
its defence and securitv, a right, to call on their devotion and courage. 
But this obligation will not i e the same during the whole period, 
and public opinion must not be deceived on this subject. 



The law, when it says "may be called on to form a portion of 
" the army or its reserves as may he directed," wishes to show on 
the one hand that limits would be placed to the action of the law, 
and also that the periods during which men would be successively 
called on for the active army and its reserves as well as the condi- 
tions of service, would be fixed by legislative enactment. 

You must, gentlemen, alwa\s bear in mind that the section 
that is now submitted to you contains only general arrangements, 
and does not enter into details, which necessarily are included in 
other sections. What we are at present concerned with is the 
question whether or no it is reasonal)le that all Frenchmen can, 
according to circumstances, from the age of 20 to that of 40, be 
called on for the defence of the country and the maintenance of 
the security of the commonwealth. 

We, so far as we are concerned, do not hesitate to answer 
affirmatively. Without referring to many countries where a 
similar obligation begins earlier and finishes later, we say to you 
definitely that in our opinion there must no longer be bodies of 
armed men in France, other than those composing the army under 
the orders of the military authorities. 

We must, then, consider not only the necessity of the organiza- 
tion of a regular army and the reserves requisite to sustain it and 
fill up the gaps, but also what is I'equisite for internal order. 

This Article does notseem, then, to impose an exorbitant charge 
on all Frenchmen for 20 years. 

The law we propose will, if approved by the Assembly, be the 
law for recruiting and organising all the military forces of France. 

It is requisite, therefore, that it should be comprehensive 
enough to embrace everything that the security or defence of the 
country may require, and also leave no space, no matter Avhat may 
happen, for those extraordinary levies, which strike people Avith 
astonishment because they do not understand and are not prepared 
for them. When the various arrangements of this law are examined 
it will be found, on the contrary, that the demands it makes, 
although serious, for they are appeals lo the patriotism and devo- 
tion of every one, are, however, far from interfering with the duties 
or clashing with the careers of anyone. 

Marriage, for example, your Con:imittee, (who do not accept the 
idea that a married man owes nothing to the defence of his country.) 
will tell you when we arrive at these details how it is proposed to 
reconcile the interests of popvilation with the requirements of 
military service. 

Your Committee will also point out the important part that pre- 
paratory military instruction will play, and the happy results that 
emulation produced by wise measures will produce in the ranks. 
Once more the Committee beg to repeat its recommendation. 
All Frenchmen may be called on from 20 to 40 years of age to 
serve in the army or ils reserves, as may be determined by law 
according to circumstances. 

This principle has been unanimously agreed on by the Govern- 
ment and the Committee. 


The same has not been the case^ as we already have said, with 
the next Article, which does away with the law of sul)stitution. 

" Substitution is suppressed." 

" Dispensations from military service do not confer a complete 
" liberation from that duty."' 

You will have observed, gentlemen, in the first portion of this 
report, that, notwithstanding the clause against substitution con- 
tained in the law of the year A^I, it did not fail to make its appear- 
ance in the law of the year VII, but merely exceptionally, and it 
remained in force until the year 1814, despite the difficulties and 
restrictions thrown in the way of its application. 

You have also seen that substitution was allowed in the laM's 
of 1818 and of 1832, and if it disappeared in 1855 to give place to 
exoneration as we at present have it, it existed but under another 
form, which rendered its exercise more easy, and which was 
re-established in 1868. 

We are not ignorant that substitution has been considered as 
a means of satisfying the exigencies of civil life, and of those situa- 
tions that it was desirable for the State to pi^eserve; and whenever 
this question has been agitated, it has been stated that substitution 
allowed the law of recruiting to weld itself more easily into our social 

It is for this reason that the Government makes no objection 
to the three first Articles of the Chapter which we now lay before 
you. As we have already pointed out, the words, "Every Frencli- 
'■ man is liable to military service," does not touch the question of 
substitution, any more than the terms of the law of 1832, 
which submitted all young men having completed 20 years of age 
to the obligation to draw lots. 

But, gentlemen, your Committee believes it to be desirable to 
go farther than the laws of 1818 and 1832; it believes it is now 
requisite to proclaim the rule of compulsory personal service; this, 
in our opinion, is the basis on which the law should rest. 

It has already told you its motives. 

It does not conceal that doubtless the suppression of substitu- 
tion has a certain importance, that with the people this Article 
will at first appear the most severe in the whole law ; but we 
trust and hope, that when better informed, they will understand 
the object we have in view, and that they will then see only the 
application of principles which are dear to them. 

It will be well to give an account of the various arrangements 
which may be adopted to lighten the load imposed on every one, 
bat conjointly with the principle of compulsory service, substitution 
cannot exist. If we suppose that in the formation of the army 
and its reserves, certain substitutions between the young men of 
the same class are allowed; suppose that with the object of 
exciting emulation beforehand and giving, so to speak, a bounty 
in the form of encouragement to superior attainments, this would 
not be a deviation from the main principles of the law, which 
allowing substitution undoubtedly would be. 

But is it requisite that every young man should pass with 


the colours the entire period fixed for service in the regular 
army? We do not think this is requisite, only his not doing 
so must he in virtue of special dispensation, and such arrange- 
ments as may satisfy the legitimate ends that must he kept in view, 
regard being had to the pursuit of civil professions, and the 
necessities of certain situations. 

Thus, while no exemptions but tliose arising from infirmities, 
rendering young men afilicted with them unfit for military 
service, will be allowed, it is evident that those who, for example, 
are the sole support of a widowed mother, may obtain a dispensa- 
tion, as well as men who w^ish to take Holy Orders, and enter 
other situations in life too long to enumerate here. This is what 
this Aiticle refers to when it speaks of dispensations on the condi- 
tions prescrilied l)y \&w. 

If we examine wdiat has taken place in a country which on the 
morrow of a bloody defeat was wise enough to adopt this principle, 
we see with what care the various interests to which we refer have 
been conciliated. " Overslaugh's," that is to say, temporary dis- 
pensations from service are granted not only to those who support 
a familv, but also to entire categories of individuals who the State 
considers should pursue their own careers. 

And do not tliink, gentlemen, that these overslaughs 
are given only to the higher ranks of society, for the reverse is the 

Independently of those individuals whose state is similar to 
those provided for by the exemptions of the law of 1832, we see 
side by side w'ith them the pupds of certain schools, the heads of 
industrial, agricultural or commercial establishments, whose 
presence appears indispensable. We see the sons of farmers 
w'hose labour is necessary on the farm, workmen and apprentices 
to whom the State wishes to grant time to complete their 

Yet we must again repeat these overslaughs are not complete 
exemptions, they are conditional, for the most part provisional, and 
allowed only in time of peace. Then, in addition to these dispen- 
sations, it has always been arranged, while the application of the 
general rule was satisfied, that the requirements of various pro- 
fessions should he considered. Thus, young men who have 
important studies to pursue, and who give proofs of certain military 
instruction, are allowed to remain under fixed conditions but a short 
time with the colours. 

We know that in these overslaughs much is left to the discre- 
tion of the authorities, but was not tjie same done with us by the 
law of 1868, even for the bread earners of families ? 

There are, then, no insurmountable difficulties in providing 
fairly for all the exigencies of various careers. But this must be 
done by the law, by regulations which must be made in broad day- 
light, so that everyone may know them. 

The Article adds, " Dispensations do not confer a complete 

This is evidently a result of the system itself. If every French- 


man from the age of 20 to 40 years forms a jjortion of the regular 
iirmy and its reserves, it is evident that the cause for which a 
dispensation was allowed must cease at some time or other. It 
would not be just that he should remain freed for ever from all 
military service; he must follow the lot of others who l^elong to 
the same contingent: his obligation must only cease when theirs 
cease too. Tiiis is the reason dispensation from serA-ice does not 
give complete liberation. 

By its terms the law wished to show that those whose services 
are dispensed with, are placed in a situation entirely different from 
those who are exempted by the laws of lSl>i and 1832, viz., 
that the exempted men were declared absolutely free. 

The question of substitution is truly the question of com- 
pulsory service, and it is this which, as we have already said, 
divides the Committee from the Government. 

The Government think, that without substition it will De 
impossible to properly satisfy the requirements of certaiis profes- 
«ions, the necessities of certain situations; in short, what the istate 
of society actually requires. 

The Committee think, on the contrary, while they do not lose 
sight of these requirements or necessities, that measures may be 
taken to satisfy them, which will stimulate earnest study both 
amongst civilians and military men. without allowing any one, by 
money, to relieve himself from the obligation of military service. 

Thus, after all, it is but a questioii of means between the 
Government and the Committee ; and we hope, that when you 
examine in detail what we propose, you will also be of the same 

But it apDears desirable to us that the National Assembly 
should be able to "uaoe the extent of the law. 

When so niaiiy detestable doctrines are spread through this 
country, whose object is to divide the various strata of society (for 
there are really no lon2;er classes) when these detestable doctrines 
seek to divide those termed the ''rich" and the "poor"; oh! 
gentlemen, it is a grand answer to be able to make to such peojde, 
all of you, whose sons have fought, or who may l)e called on to 
fight for France, it is a grand answer to make, "' Substitution is 
"suppressed, every Frenchman owes military service to his country." 

Your Committee has, with one exception, been unanimous in 
adopting this principle. 

Article 5, "Men under the colours shall have no vote.'' This 
Article is inserted in the law on account of discipline. 

It seeks to interfere with none of those questions which a law on 
the suffrage may raise; it seeks only to remove a cause of discord 
and insubordination from the ranks of the army. 

It is not advisable that military men, who, in the acts they 
have to p.erfonn as a bodv.are submitted to tbcir supLM-iors, should 
.•■ometimes find themselves the equals, perhaps tiie adversaries, of 
those superiors without ceasing to be under '.lieir orders 

The fielings thus produced may influence, and be influenced, 
by what passes in the armj', which is much to be regretted. 


To use the franchise as laid down by existing laws, men placed 
in a regiment must form distinct isolated groups, according to the 
departments they belong to. 

The men forming each group must enter into discussions, and 
must have names inserted on their voting papers, of whirli they 
are often ignorant. They are asked out of their barracks and 
camps to be instructed by ofticious election agents, and God knows 
what politics, what principles are often taught to them. 

They vote far away from their fellow citizens, who might have 
enlightened them if they had been amongst them, and, never- 
theless, their votes are counted amongst the others. 

Gentlemen, we could not have a greater example of the 
discipline, the good sense, and moral power of the army, than the 
fact that it has been able to resist the dangerous solicitations, the 
fatal doctrines, with which, for some years, it has been flooded. 

To take part in elections is, for the army itself, a bad thing 
But for the Government, of whatever form, nay, for society itself, 
it is worse. 

The votes of the soldiers, as you are aware, are not cast into 
the urn on the day of election, and mixed with those of the 
cifizens ; they are collected apart, and, according as they are 
favourable or the reverse to such and such a party, to such or such a 
political personage, public opinion, without taking any account of 
the causes which may have produced the effect, strives to find 
out the motives, and very often discovers what really has no 

Thus, in addition to the ill effects produced on discipline, the 
vote of soldiers with the colours is productive of grave evils. 
Leave the army its great and noble mission to perfect itself in 
military art and science. Let it have no political part to play. 
It belongs to the entire country, and this in itself is greatness ; do 
not seek to drag it at the tail of political parties. 

Article 6, " All armed bodies are submitted to military law, 
" and form portion of the army under military authority"; hence the 
National Guard is suppressed. 

During the last war, bodies of men commissioned l)y the State 
have been denied the title of belligerents. It is requisite to 
prevent a recurrence of such things. It must be known that 
all bodies of men organized and armed by the State are a portion 
of the army, and are submitted to military law, either under the 
Minister for War or Marine, according to circumstances. 

This principle is, then, the requisite corollary of the new organi- 
zation, which, it seems to us, should be that of the militarv forces 
of France, and the obligation which the law imposes on all 

When, by the effect of the principle of compulsory service, 
all men can be called on to form a portion of the regular army and 
its reserves from the age of 20 to that of 40 years, it is evident 
that the country will then have at its disposal, not only for the 
defence of its territory, but also for the maintenance of internal 
security, everything that is requisite. 


Hence, tliere need be nothing beyond the army, in the 
form of armed bodies submitted to military autliority, but 
having other origin, following other rules, and dependent on other 

'The National Guard disappears, then, by the force of circum- 
stances. All men of 20 and 40 years of age ought to serve in tlie 
army and its reserves ; there is, therefore, no longer the means of 
forming a national guard, without borrowing from an organization 
that it is requisite the State should preserve intact. 

But this definition of Article 6 does not interfere with, we need 
hardly say, the custom-house officials, who, in carrying out the duties 
entrusted to them, must evidently preserve their arms to defend 
themselves against smugglers. Neither does it affect the institu- 
tion of firemen, which is a collection of brave men intended for 
special service in special cases. 

Lastly, t!ie last Article admit Frenchmen only into the national 
army, and excludes from military service felons, those wlio are 
guilty of misdemeanours, or are placed under the surveillance of 
the police. 

The defence of the country is a duty for all citizens, but it is 
also an honour; the foreigner has no interest in it, and the un- 
worthy must be excluded from the privilege. 

These, gentlemen, are the considerations which we desired to 
make known to you, and whicli we should much h.ave lik ed to 
abridge. But it was of importance that everyone should understand 
the bearing of the resolutions which we have the honour to suljniit. 
We now only submit general principles which may serve as tlic 
basis of the law of recruiting. 

It is by regarding this question, both as it affects the armv and 
societ\^ that we have arrived at tiie conclusions we have, and from 
the same points of view we i)eg vou to approve them. 

Do not think that v.-e have disregarded the fact that interference 
with the customs of the people so far as the law of recruiting is 
concerned is a delicate matter. But it seems to us that the tims has 
now come when the country must take up a position from whirli 
reforms, such as we desire, may flow. Be sure of this, that far 
from clashing with popular sentiment, the people will, when tliev 
see this great Assembly proclaiming these principles, understand 
the elevation and patriotism Avhich animates it. 

Do not think that we have allowed ourselves to be drawn away 
in pursuit of novelties, or by an unreasoning desire to imitate what 
has succeeded with other nations. 

No ; for while we know that it is requisite not to adhere blindlv 
to the mistakes of the past, and believe that our methods and our 
institutions arc the best, yet we are equally aware that it would be 
folly to conclude that, because we have met with reverses, therefore 
our institutions contain nothing but faults. iSuch alterations as are 
required should be made, then, with a firm but prudent hand. 
And, if we have sought instructions beyond our frontier, it is the 
better to understand our misfortunes, and the better to understand 
the lessons they convey. 


Lastljr, gentlemen, we cannot forget tlie words of Montesquieu 
as to what constituted the greatness of the Romans. 

" Having successively' eombatted with all people, they invariably 
*\2,ave up their own customs so soon as they found better. Their 
"first object was to find out in wliat respect their enemy had a 
" superiority, and that they instantly adopted.^' 

Chapters II, III, IV, and V. 

After pointing out in the first part of this report the various 
laws which have governed the recruiting of our armies; after 
exposing the general piinciplcs which should, we think, serve as 
the basis for our new military institutions, there remains to sul)mit 
to you the various rules which the application of these principles 

But, in order that we mav advance more securely on the road 
that the interests of the country demand, a-id that public opinion 
appears in some sort already to have marked out, it is requisite to 
state the problem clearly. 

We think that the army France at present requires is, not only 
a force permanently and powerfully organized, and a great school, 
where all the elements of which the nation is composed may 
imbibe instruction and military discipline bc^fore entering civil life, 
but also avast fran)ework within which all these elements, educated 
and told off beforehand, may range themselves when the country 
is menaced in its independence, or its internal security. 

This is the problem we seek to solve. 

This problem, genf;iemen, is no invention of ours; force of 
circumstances, our situation in Europe, above all, the state of our 
society, imperatively demand its solution. 

Doubtless, existing legislation might create considerable, nay, 
imposing military forces, but it cannot lay all the dangers which 
threaten us. 

There is no one who has a greater respect for the distinguished 
authors of the laws of 1818 and 1832 ; none who render more 
justice to their work than your Committee. We have owed to 
them, for fifty years, the soldiers of which we have been so justly 
proud. The recruiting, the organization of the army, answered 
fully, as we acknowledge, to the requirements of that period. 

You may recall how at those periods, in the midst of various 
States which had coalesced against and conquered her, France still 
preserved her preponderance, owing to the size of her territory, 
her population, and her unitv. 


You may also recall of what the permanent armies of the great 
powers were composed, what heterogeneous masses manv put in 
line before the homogeneous forces of France. 

Lastly, it is well knoun that with tiie arms then in use, with 
the means of transport then existing, the personal valour of the 
soldier was of great importance. 

This quality of personal courage is not now so gi'cat as when 
troops fought closer ; firmness and courage upon the held of battle 
often then compensated for inferior numbers. Under these heads 
our army has been happily gifted. 

Looking to the state of things in the country itself, after the 
great and often glorious wars of the revolution and the empire, wc 
see that although the country was in a state of exhaustion, and there 
was much outcry against the abuse of the conscription, yet the 
better classes of society, influenced by the noble history of the 
past, still sougbt the profession of arms ; young men know-ing 
nothing of commerce, for whom industrial pursuits, then in their 
infancy, had no charms, and who were little afTected by the enjoy- 
ments of luxury. Lastly, if there were in the country parties 
animated by hostile 'political passions, none, at least, sought to 
upset social order itself, and to hurl one class of individuals against 

Under such conditions laws which, while they based re- 
cruiting on the principle of equality, gave some alleviation to 
the severity of the regulations; produced an army which, although 
drawn from all the living force of the nation, yet by allowing 
sul)stitution, permitted those who were in easv circumstances to 
escape military service, and by length of service formed and 
kept old soldiers. 

Such laws and such an army, we repeat, were then in unison 
with both our situation in Europe and our internal condition. 

Nevertheless, this legislation, which, when it appeared, was a 
true conquest over ancient prejudices, yielded, perhaps, too much 
to the objections raised against conscription. It liberated from 
military service, and freed for ever fiom the most holy of all 
duties, those who the ballot did not send under the colours. 
Thus, raising substitution, in one sense, from a privilege to a 
right. It cannot be denied, that seeds, the growth of which have 
enervated the public spirit, and altered the constitution of the army 
were thus sown. 

This did not fail to show itself under the Governii.cnt of the 
Restoration, and under that wliich succeeded it, and many men, 
eminent for their military experience, largely discussed the bearing 
of these laws. 

They studied by what combinations it was possible to instruct 
a larger number of young soldiers each year. And this became 
more desirable when, on account of the increase of riches, 
and the large number of new careers opening for 3'oung 
men, it became apparent that each year tlie nu;nber of voung men 
belonging to the well-to-do classes entering tlie army de- 
creased, and the number of substitutes increased. Men then 


began to be much affected by the change, and means to remedy 
it were anxiously sought. 

Thus, gentlemen, each day the army became gradually more 
and more an institution distinct from the country, to which the 
country appeared entirely to give up its defence and its security ; 
and all those who did not belong to it were entirely relieved from 
this duty, and became utterly careless about it. 

Happily, the army preserved its noble traditions, and it 
imbibed, from feelings of honour and discipline, a power and a 
patriotism which it should have obtained from the aid of all 
citizens. Happily, also, at the period of which we speak, our 
organization, compared with that of the greater part of other 
nations, was far from being deficient. 

But since then, gentlemen, things have changed not only all 
round us, but even in our midst. 

You know who are now the great powers of Europe, and in 
what position thev ai^e, the importance of their military forces, and 
what has led them to profoundly modify the constitution of their 

You are equally aware of the internal state of our own country ; 
the revolutionary passions it is torn by ; the fatal doctrines men 
seek to spread amongst the people; the solicitations they address 
to the soldiers; the divisions that are to spread in all ranks of 

Looking to the state of foreign affairs, and in presence of the 
infernal perils which threaten us, it appears indispensable and 
requisite to enlarge greatly the basis upon \vhich hencefortii 
should rest what we may term the armed organization of this 

Doubtless the law of 18G8, and this should be acknowledged, 
has already taken an important stej) in the direction we seek 
to follow, since in place of completely liberating from military 
service the young men who are not embraced in the annual 
contingent, it still retained them to make a part of the National 
Guard " Mobile," intended to be an auxiliary to the active army. 
But, it imposed on them no service in the army, and called on 
them, only in case of war, without giving them any sufficient 
military instruction. On the one hand, it gave up a considerable 
portion of the resources, which it might otherwise have disposed, 
and on the other, it allowed too great a difference to exist 
between the men composing the various classes, of whom, some 
placed in the contingent remained nine years in the army, whilst 
others belonged only to tlie National Guard " Mobile " for five 
years, and as substitution was maintained, it was evident that the 
composition of the regular army could not be altered. It was, 
then, not in the army but in the National Guard *' Mobile" that 
all the young men of certain classes in society were to be 

Now, on the contrary, what we seek we cannot too often repeat 
is the union, the mingling in the ranl^s of the army of all the 
elements of society, how diverse soever they may be. This, in our 


opinion, is a social necessity imposed on the country, as urgent as 
the defence of our soil which imperiously demands it. 

Thus, gentlemen, \vc arrive at the ideas which we have already 

The army ought to be not only a permanent force powerfully 
organized, and a great school, where all classes of the nation come 
in succession to imbibe military instruction before entering civil 
life, but also a vast framework in which the educated elements 
previously classed according to their aptitude are arranged, the day 
the country is menaced, either in its independence or its internal 

To realise these ideas has been our desire in bringing forward 
the project we lay before you. 

This project is divided into five sections. The first is devoted 
to general arrangements in some sort the preamble of the lav/ ; this 
we have already dealt with, and do not again propose to refer to. 

The second treats of calling out the various classes. 

The third treats of military service. 

The fourth of voluntary enlistment. 

The fifth of penalties. 

2nd Section. 

Founded, as you are aware, upon the principle of compulsory 
service for all Frenchmen who are not considered unfit for military 
service, the Bill will summon all young men, aged 20 years, to 
form a portion of the regular army, then to serve in the reserve, 
and then in the territorial army until the age when their services 
will be dispensed with. 

The census of these young men is carried out according to 
existing rules, lots are drawn exactly as at present (the reason why 
will be shortly explained) ; then they are examined by councils of 
revision, which pronounce upon the objections which may then be 
raised, as well as on the causes of exemptions and dispensations. 
The law recognizes no other cause for exemption than those re- 
sulting from infirmity, which renders a man unfit not only for 
service in the regular army but also from being utilized in its 
auxiliary services ; and the law further directs that young men 
who appear, on account of a want in height, not to fulfil the 
requisite conditions should stand over, and their cases be sub- 
mitted for two consecutive years to a new examination by the 
council of revision. 

As for men whose services are dispensed with, the project 
admits but three classes. 

The first for young men that the laws of 1S32 and 1868 con- 
sidered would, by their removal, make too great a gap in families, 
whatever may be their situation or fortune (Art. 13 of the law 
of 1832). 

The second is conditional, that the young men to whom it is 
granted remain for a ceitain time in professions that it is the interest 
of the State that they should follow (Art. 11 of the law of 183.2). 


The tliird for tlio^e who are really the bre id-earners of their 
fuiuilies, and actually fidfii tins duty. 

These dispensations are, hovvever, vnerely conditional ; the 
young men to whom thev are granted do not cease to belong to 
their classes, and wheti the cause for dispensation disappears they 
are then suljmitted to all the obligations that they otherwise would 
be found to fulfil. 

Then, to satisfy the requirements of men who have to perfect 
themselves in their apprenticeship to some trade or art, also 
to the requirements of certain commercial enterprises, and also 
the l)etter to meet, we do not hesitate to say, the requirements of 
justice, the law permits in time of ])eace a delay or overslaugh for 
young men placed in the above conditions. 

This is, if we may use the expression, a counterbalance to what 
you will see proposed hereafter for young men whose studies cannot 
be stopped, or too long suspended, without a great prejudice to 
the careers on which thev are engaged. 

But these '"delays" do not liberate the person who receives 
them from military service; they adjourn simply in favour of his 
vocation in life the period wlien it has to be fulfilled, and mav in 
certain cases diminish its duration. 

Further, the number of these dispensations accorded to the 
bread-earners of families, as well as of the "delays," is limited 
in proportion to the miml)er of young men considered fit for 

The responsibility of granting them is handed over to a council 
possessed of the fullest information, and the composition of which 
is of itself a guarantee for the justice of its decisions. 

Lastly, all young mtn who may be left in situations such 
as we have described may be subjected to drill, and in case of 
war are not exemj)ted from taking part in the defence of the 

When the councils of revision have terminated their labours, 
the parochial recruiting list is finally completed. This list is divided 
into five parts, so that all the young men, except those definitely 
exempted on account of infirmities rendering them unfit fcu" any 
service whatever are inscribed each according to the situation in 
W'hich he is placed. 

Further, the law directs that from these lists, when the class 
shall have been placed at the disposal of the Minister of War. 
there shall be kept in each department or in each district a register 
upon which the names of all the young men who are not declared 
unfit for military service shall be borne. 

This register will have a remark opposite each man's name, 
and the position in wliicli he is, and all the changes tliat may be 
made in his situation, \mtil he'shall have passed into the teritoiial 
army, shall be thereon entered. 

Each man entered on this register is bound to notify when 
he changes his residence, so that the War Office shall know always 
where he may be found if required, under any of the cases referred 
to bv the law. 


Tliis register \s the basis upon \vliich the system we submit 
must to a great extent, depend. By it alone can the careers 
of men fuinning a portion of the active army and its reserves 
be followed. By it alone can they be classed, not oidy accord- 
ing to their incorporatioi^ but according to to the various situa- 
tions that their profession renders tliem fitted for, and the day 
when it is requisite to call on these men, they will be found all 
ready classed i)eforehand, and they can at once be used to the liest 

3iiD Sectiox. 

After thus determining the situation of the young men in each 
class, the law divides into different periods the time during v/incli 
every Frenchman who is not declared unfit for all military service 
may be called on to form a portion of the regular army and its 

These periods are fixed as follows : — 

In the regular army service for five years, after which service, 
in the reserve of that army for four years. 

After which men can only be called on for service in the terri- 
torial army for five vears, and in its reserve for six years. All 
voung men of the class called on, .vho are not exempted on ac-count 
of infirmity, or whose services are not dispensed Avith, or who have 
not obtained '"' delays," form a portion of the regular army and 
are placed at the disposal of the Minister of War. 

These young soldiers are all registered as belonging to the 
different corps of the army, and are sent to their corps, to battalions 
or schools of instruction. 

All begin by serving for a year in the different situations in 
which they are placed according to their fitness and their profes- 
sions ; after this first year the number of men only which has been 
fixed by the Minister of War, according to the estiniatc, and the 
requirements of the service are retained with the colours. 

These men are selected ])y the numljers they have drawn in 
the lists of each parish, and in the proportions determined bv the 
y\av Minister. 

Young men included amongst those who are to serve only one 
year, but who do not know how to read and write and cannot pass 
the requisite examinations^ are kept in the corps for a second 
year. On the contrary, those who by having acquired militarv 
instruction prior to their entry into the army, joined to what 
they have learned in the army, can in six months fulfil all the 
required conditions, may at periods fixed by the Minister be 
sent home on furlough. This furlough is the situation in which 
all men sent home after a year's service in the army, as well as 
those who after a longer or shorter period of service in the army 
may be sent home, remain. They are at the disposal of the 
Minister for War during the entire j")eriod they belong to the 
regular army. And must undergo such inspections and drills as 
the Minister may direct. 


It is requisite to observe that the law, when it says that all 
soldiers belong to the regular army for five years, does not mean 
that they remain under the colours for that time. Conside- 
rations to which we will hereafter refer have induced us to fix 
this period as that during Avhich all young men of a class, what 
situation soever thev may be in, that is to say, either serving or 
held in readiness, or on furlouL^h, or even detailed for auxiliary 
services, owe their service to the regular army„ which is the first 
regular force of the country. 

After this period the men enter the reserve of the regular 
army, and remain there four j^ears. During these four years they 
are only oi)liged to take part in two manoeuvres, the duration of 
which must not exceed 28 days each. They may, as may those 
who are in readiness for the army, marry if they wisli. 

But married men are none the less compelled to give the same 
service as others of the class to which they belong. 

The time passed in the first reserve being completed, that is to 
say, when they reach the age of 29 years, the young men of the 
classes fprm a portion of the territorial army, and later of the 
second reserve. 

While the project leaves it for a special law to determine the 
basis of the organisation both of the regular army, the territorial 
army and its reserves, it however lays down (because a law on 
recruiting should enable people clearly to understand the extent of 
their obligations) the principle that the territorial army should be 
formed from detinite districts fixed by legislative enactment, and 
that each district should embrace only the men who are domiciled 

As regards the navy and the various corps attached to it — 

Recruiting will continue as at present, no alterations are pro- 
posed in the naval conscription or for the marines, only on account 
of the nature of the service, which is essentially a voluntary engage- 
ment or re-engagement on certain fixed conditions that will be 
established by law, according to the wishes of the young men wdio 
may be summoned when the lists are being revised. However, it 
is only when the requisite number of men cannot be procured 
voluntarily that recourse will be had to this method. 

In such a case I'ecourse will be had as at present to the young 
men who h.ave drawn the first numbers in each parish list. But 
to allow freedom to those wlio feel a desire to serve at sea instead 
of on land, the law authorised exchanges between these young men 
and those destined for the army. 

Lastly, men so enrolled for the navj^, or in bodies organised for 
naval service, after serving the time prescribed for the regular 
army will remain only two years in the first reserve ; they will then 
enter the territorial army. The nature of the service renders this 
favour just. 

4th Section. 

The law then deals with the question of engagements and 


The young man who wishes to enlist voluntarily must, if he 
enter the army, be 18 years old, and at least 5 feet and half an inch 
in height. The age for engagement is thus reduced one year, the 
height at present required is lowered by one-third of an incli ; the 
other conditions required for engagement are continued, and to 
them we advise you to add, that the volunteer must know how to 
read and write. 

You have seen already that we propose that the soldier who 
does not know how to read or write, may, in certain definite con- 
ditions, be retained one year longer with the colours. It is only 
natural therefore to impose a condition on those who enlist, the im- 
portance of which will he recognised daily by the mass of the people. 

The duration of this engagement is five years, but in case of 
war, all Frenchmen who belong neither to the regular army, nor to 
its reserve may engage to serve during the continuance of the war. 

Lastly, young soldiers who are about to be sent on furlough, or 
who are on furlough, may be authorised to complete five years' 
service with the colours. 

So far as re-engagements are concerned the project allows them, 
but with certain restrictions, re-engagements which, after five 
years' service under the colours give a right to high pay, are allowed 
for only two years, but are renewable for corporals and soldiers 
until 29 years of age, and for sous-officers until 32 years of age. 

This is an alteration which is somewhat important, and not 
without its object, for it allows a greater number of men to be 
passed through the ranks, and allows useless men to be got rid of, 
men who, if retained too long, would have no chance of finding 
in civil life occupations capable of procuring a livelihood. 

But in consequence of this arrangement, it is evident that the 
State must ensure to the sous-officers, who leave the army after 
12 years good service, a certain number of employments in which 
they may acquire the right of an honourable retirement. 

This is the object of a special clause, in addition to which it is 
the intention of the Government, as the Minister for War has 
informed us, to ask that proportionate pensions be assigned to 
soldiers who have passed 12 years with the colours; that the 
position of sous-officers be improved, and without allowing disci- 
pline to suffer thereby their situation should be made more secure : 
by thus exciting amongst all men capable of aspiring to these 
grades a healthy emulation, the cadres of the army will, doubtless, 
be much improved. 

But an innovation which is much greater is that embodied in 
the regulations relative to those who engage voluntarily for a year 
When we laid before you the reasons upon which we based this 
law, Ave said, without allowing the payment of any sum of money 
to purchase freedom from military service, it was still possible to 
satisfy the demands of certain civil careers by measures which 
would serve to stimulate serious study, and the progress of 
instruction, both civil and military. 

Chief amongst these measures is undoubtedly the institution 
of volunteers fur one year. 



This institution rests upon a twofulcl idea: — 

1st. That the apprenticeship of a young man to military 
service may be mucli shorter if he possesses a good 
education tlian if he does not. 

2nd. That in the interests of society and the army itself, it is 
better that a young man, who is destined for a civil career, 
should, on the one hand, interrupt his studies as little as 
possible, and, on the other, be ready the day the defence 
of the country summons him to be placed according to 
his fitness in the position in the service for which he is 
best adapted. 

The law jorovides for young men in two categories who may 
come forward to contract such engagements. For both the favour 
will only be granted when the instruction they have acquired 
justifies it. 

Oidy some, who are provided with a proof of instruction, by 
being Bachelors of Letters or Bachelors of Sciences, or belonging 
to certain schools, are allowed to have a 7^ig}it if they fulfil other 
conditions to form this engagement for one year. 

Others, on the contrary, who arc not in these situations, 
must be authorised to pass the prescribed examinations, the 
programme of which must be drawn up with reference to an 
extended military knowledge ; the numbsr of the latter class to be 
settled each year by the Minister for Wa ;. 

In both cases the engagement should be formed before the lots 
of the class to which they belong are draM'n. In all cases a young 
man who has diplomas, or who is studying in certain schools, and 
who has not completed his studies in the school to which he l)elongs, 
and who desires to complete them within a fixed period, can, by 
producing the requisite certificates and forming an engagement for 
one year, obtain from the military authorities an overslaugh before 
joining the corps in which he has engaged ; this overslaugh can 
only be granted to him up to 23 years of age. 

The volunteer for one year is clothed, mounted, equipped and 
maintained at his own expense, thus relieving the State of all 
charge on his account. But he is none the less submitted to 
all the obligations imposed on men with the colours. He must 
pass at certain definite periods the prescribed examinations. If 
after one year he does not satisfy all the prescribed examinations, 
he is obliged to remain in the service for a second year, according 
to the conditions laid down by the regulations. 

It being distinctly understood that in case of war 'he is bound 
to serve. 

The volunteer for one year, wdio has fulfilled all the examina- 
tions, may, after his year of service, obtain his rank as a "sous- 
officer,'' or a certificate of capacity for an employment at least 
equivalent, and he can only be recalled as provided in the law for 
the regular army, the territorial army and their reserves. 

Such is the institution of volunteers for a year which has been 
adopted by all the nations who have based their military laws on 


universal compulsory service ; in some respects it follows from that 

In our eyes this institution is as favourable to socletv as it is 
to the army. 

It evidently excites younu; men, whatsoever m:iy ])e the career 
they are destined for, to give themselves up to serious study, 
knowing that they must personally pay their debt of mditary 
service to the country ; they will see that it is much better for 
them to do so, during peace time by fullilling conditions such as 
will allow them to continue, or but slightly interfere with studies 
which qualify them for their chosen career ; further, they may by 
application abridge their period of service. 

Tiiis, then, will be an encouragement to studious youths, and in 
this respect society will be a gainer. 

As regards the army, thesrt young men will bring into the ranks 
acquired knowledge, and habits of application, which cannot but 
insjjire all, and more especiallv those called on to command them, 
with an ardent desire for selt-instruction, lest they should appear 
inferior to their subordinates. 

The presence of the volunteers for a year cannot therefore but 
exercise a good influence on the intellectual standard. 

When the defence of the country recalls these men to the 
r^inks, they come detailed beforehand for the various arms, whose 
duty they know, a body of instructed able men attached to the 
interests of the country, and animated by those elevated sentiments 
vvhich a sound education invariably produces. 

In a neighbouring coimtry, where this institution has for many 
years existed, great results have been obtained. 

The rules there in force, (which deserve to l)e carefully studied,) 
show what care is bestowed on the military instruction of these 
young volunteers. 

The work these men do, the examinations to which they are 
submitted enables them to be of great utility in various posi- 
tions and in the different arms of the service in \^hich they are 

As for the condition imposed on the volunteer for a year to 
support the cost ofUiis clothing, equijDment and maintenance. 
This is not, as should be known, the price of tl.e reduction of 
his time of service, snice he remains definitely submitted during 
all the time fixed by the law to the obligations it prescribes. 

The State disposes of him as of all men of the class to which 
he belongs. 

Only on account of the course of study they have pursued, 
the examinations to which they have been submitted when they 
are engaged, and those to which they must submit before quitting 
the corps in which they are enrolled, the law admits that their 
military instruction may be more rai)id, but it compels them to 
produce proofs of this, and in jjeace time it keeps them as short 
a time under the colours as possible, in order that they may be 
employed in careers useful to society. 

There is no longer, as there was with exoneration and substitu- 

D 2 


tion, a privilege accorded to riches. No, for riches alone cannot 
make a volunteer for a year by our law. 

Acquired information, useful study, not wealthy idleness, are 
addressed by tliis institution. Its object is, in the interests of 
the country, to offer to young men who apply themselves to 
science, arts and literature, without interfering with their proposed 
careers, a means of acquiring sufficient military knowledge and of 
paying their debt to the army, while perhaps it may inspire some 
v.'ith a desire of attaching themselves permanently to the army. 

We are, then, justified in saying that this institution is a power- 
ful stimulant to serious study. 

The price of his equipment and maintenance paid by the 
volunteer for one year, is thus not more than compensation for 
the inconvenience and expense he causes the army. 

Pursuing these ideas, it has been asked if it is not desirable 
that the Minister of War should not have the power of paying 
these expenses in a certain number of cases, for young men who 
fulfil all other conditions of the law, and who have given proof of 
real capacity. 

But it should be observed that this would be in a certain 
sense to provide bursaries, and that this is the proper function of 
the parishes and departments, and that they should provide them 
for especially meritorious subjects who belong to families M'ith 
narrow means, but that it would be improper to charge the mili- 
tary estimates with such things, for the young men who would 
profit by them, far from remaining in the army, would seek civil 

Lastly, it must be remembered that in a neighbouring nation 
young men, pupils in colleges at the cost of the State, purchase in 
some sort this l)enefit by serving in the army dovible the number 
of years which they have spent in the college ; and if we cannot 
adopt this plan in our country, at least we should do nothing con- 
trary to the spirit of such legislation. 

Chapter Y. 

Lastly, the project contains the penal regulations requisite to 
enforce its ordinances. 

These are almost identical with the actual laws, only as we 
attach much importance to the esla])lishment of the register of 
which Ave have spoken, and which alone will enable men belong- 
ing to the regular army and its reserves to be followed throughout 
their career, we are desirous that these men should be bound to 
notify their change of residence; a punishment has been introduced 
for any infraction of this rule. A new punishment has been 
introduced for insul^ordination. In time of war, the name of an 
insubordinate man shall be posted during the entire war, in all the 
parishes of the district where he is domiciled ; it is thus to a feeling 
of honour that we are desirous of appealing. 


At the same time we seek to raise the intellectual standard of 
the army, by asking that all young men called under the colours 
should receive in their regiments, and according to their grades, 
the instruction determined by the Minister of War. 

The 1st January, 1873, is fixed for the law coming into force 
as regards the regular army. 

Nevertheless, the whole class called in 1872 will be at the dis- 
posal of the Minister of War, and the young men who do not form 
the portion selected by the Minister for ^^^ar, and enrolled in the 
various corps, shall be placed in the reserve of the regular army 
in place of forming a portion of tlie National Guard " Mobile," in 
accordance with the law of 1st February, 1868. 

But young men who shall have been placed, or who belong to 
the National Guard "Mobile '■* in virtue of this transition state, 
must undergo such drills and mancEuvres as nsay be directed, in 
order that they may acquire a military instruction of some value. 

Lastly, men who have completed the period of service demanded 
by the laws of the empire will, M'ith the other men of their classes, 
be enrolled on the list of the army reserve, until they reach the 
age of 29 ; after that age, in the territorial army, as directed by the 

Such, in short, gentlemen, is the project which your Committee 
submits to you. 

2nd Division. 

As you have doubtless observed, the project studiously pre- 
serves every portion of existijig legislation that can be preserved, 
and which offers no obstacle to the object in view, making only svich 
alterations as the custom of the people and the defence, and good 
order of tlie country demands. 

Thus, you will observe, in all that relates to the rules for taking 
the census, the drawing of lots, dispensations, revision of the 
rules, penalties, &c., all these regulations are borrowed from 
previous laws, to the application of which we are accustomed ; the 
changes that have been introduced explain themselves, and we 
need hardly trouble you with them. 

But on other subjects, as you have no doubt remarked, great 
alterations are proposed. 

Thus the contingent fixed by the annual law no longer leaves 
men at home without military instruction.* 

* Fixing the amount of tlie coutiiigcnt called each year, as was clone by the laws 
of 1830 and 1832 accordhig to the foreseen -wants of the moment, when the contin- 
gent is voted, produced the most deplorable inequahties between the demands made 
on the different classes called out, without perhaps satisfying the requirements of the 
service. Thus, when the contingents of 80,000 men were succeeded by those 
of l-iO,000 men for the Crimean war, the classes which furnished them gave almost 
the whole of the men capable of bearing arms, after deducting those exempted or 
dispensed with, while the other classes which justly should have helped the war with 
an equal number, since these contingents were stQl under the colours, were called on 
for very few men. In 1859 a contingent of 140,000 men was called. It was incorpo- 
rated only after the peace, but these men nevertheless served in the army for 
seven years. This is what has made a Minister for War say " Large contingents 
correspond often to periods of peace ; small contingents to periods of war." 


The entire class is put at the disposition of the Minister for 
War. All the young men composing it are enrolled in the 
various corps; all must receive an instruction, at least sufficient 
to enable them, when the country is in danger, to take their places 
in the ranks of the army, and to bring to it the elements of a con- 
siderable force. 

These regulations follow as a consequence of the principle of 
imiversal compulsory service, which is the key note of the whole 
law, it is true, in their application important difficulties and the 
most delicate questions must be raised. 

These problems ai-e those which have caused the longest and 
deepest discussion in your Committee. And we think it our duty 
to draw your attention to the various solutions that have been 
brought before us. 

But in order that you may clearly understand this subject, and 
to prevent confusion, it is requisite to fix certain data. 

In France, after deducting the two provinces which have been 
taken from us, the average number of voung men who reach the 
age of 20 each year is 300,000 to 302,000. 

But it would be an error to jump to the conclusion that France 
has 300,000 young men aged 20 fit each year for active service ; 
unfortunately this is not the case. 

If the report furnished by the Minister for War be carefully 
examined, it will be found that out of these 300,000 young men 
more than 65,000 are exempted on account of physical infirmity, 
9,000 for want of proper height, and the other exemptions, pro- 
vided by the existing law exceed 60,000. Lastly, that 6,000 
individuals are left at home as indispensable to the support of their 

That before the class is finally incorporated the loss by deaths, 
punishment, and desertions, amounts to 3,000 ; so that the class, 
allowance l:)eing made for these deductions, does not exceed 160,000 
capable of carrying arms, which must supply the men for the 


Table showing an Analysis of a Class composed of the gross 
number o 302,0 !0 names. 

Average strength of the class 

1st. Youug men exempted for physical infirmity 
2nd. Young men dispensed with — 

1. For want of Jieight (less than 5 ft. 0^ in.). . 

2. As being the eldest children of families "1 

of orphans. . .. . . . . J 

3. Sons or grandsons of widows 

4. Sons or grandsons of persons 70 rears of 1 

age, or blind . . . . . J 

5. Younger brothers of blind or crippled men 

6. Elder of two bi others called on to draw ] 

lots together, and both selected by lot J 

7. Brothers of soldiers under tlic coloui'S . . 

8. Brothers of soldiers who have died on"| 

active se^wice, or when on furlough, or | 
allowed pension for wounds received )■ 
on duty, or for infirmities contracted | 
wlien serving by sea or land . . . . J 

9. Ah-eady in the Army or Navy by virtue "] 

of a voluntary engagement, a warrant, > 
or commission . . . . . . j 

10. Enrolled naval conscripts . . 

11. Pupils at the Polytechnic . . 

12. Employed as selioolmastcrs or vishers 

13. Pupi s of the great seminai-ies, or young"! 

men who are about to become clergy- J- 
men of the creeds paid by the State. . J 

11. Young soldiers left at home by the 
Councils of Eevision as being the sup- 
port of a family, 4 per cent . . 

15. Losses by death, punishment, or deser-"! 

Xumber of Men 
if the Class 
be called out 

in its inte;jrit}-. 








• 48,709 







5,600 ~] 

3,400 I 

94 j. 12,725J 
1,953 I 



tiou, &c. 





Eemain really disposable, of which- 
The Navy requires 
The Army 




Or, in round numbers, the contingent for the Army will be 150,000 men. 

Note. — No change is proposed as regi ds any of these dispensations from 2 to 13 
except that those who are to be schoolmasters must serve one year with the colours 
or in a mihtary school. 

Doubtless, the law which we propose recognises no exemptions, 
but those which render a man incapable of all military service ; but, 
as we have already said, it admits as causes for dispensations, so 
long as those causes exist, the particular sit'iatioiis which the 
existing legislation had in view when it allowed all young men in 
those situations a complete release from military service. 

These dispensations will, it is true, give no entire release from 
military service; those who obtain them must be drilled, and aro 
liable to be called on in case of war. 


But it is not therefore requisite to increase tlie number of 
young men in each class who join the a.Ymy each year.'-'^ 

And while we believe it requisite to preserve such dispositions 
as shall allow families to retain the young men who are in a gieat 
measure their support, we think that the number to be put each 
year at the disposal of the War Minister cannot be placed higher 
than 150,000 men. 

This number is derived from official documents, and we have 
therefore taken it as the basis of all our calculations^f a"d we ask 
you to accept it. J 

* These men, by the law of 1868, formed a portion of the National Guard 

+ Table showing the number of young soldiers enrolled or who might have been 
enrolled in the contingent of the class of 1870, wliich is composed of llie entire 
number of healthy young men, no dispensations being granted for those who are the 
support of families. 

Ain .. .. 1999 

Aisne .. .. 2397 

Allier .. .. 1764 

Alpes (Basses) . . 5G5 

Alpes (Hautes) . . 521 

Alpes Maritimes 932 

Ardeche . . . . 1972 

Ardennes .. ]2:8 

Ariege .. .. 1318 

Aube .. ,. 989 

Aude .. .. 1379 

Aveyroii . . . . 1645 

Bouches du E . . 1821 

Calvados . . . . 1713 

Cautal .. .. 1089 

Charente . . 1543 

Chareute luferieure 2044 

Cher .„ .. 1855 

Correze .. .. 1390 

Corse .. .. 1184 

C6te d'or. . . . 1768 

Cotes du Nord . . 2G00 

Ci-euse .. .. 1364 

Dordoguc . . 2045 

Doubs .. .. 1385 

Dr&me .. .. 1599 

Eure .. ,. 1587 

Eure et Loir . , 1607 

Finistere . . . . 2456 

Gard .. .. 1804 

Garonne (H) .. 2142 

Gers .. .. 1046 

Gironde .. . . 3170 

Herault ,. .. 1727 

Ille et Villaine . . 2673 

ludre . . . . 1141 

Indre et Loire . . 1271 

Isere .. .. 2557 

•Tura . . . . 1255 

Laudes . . . . 1362 

Loir et Cher 






Yancluse . . 


Loire (Haiitc) . . 


Vendee . . 


Loire luferieure . . 


Vienne . . 




Yienue (11.) 




Yosges , . 


Lot et Garonne . . 




Lozere . . 
Maine et Loire . . 


Total .. 1 


Manchc . . 




Deduct losses 

Marno (Haute) . . 


when tlie con- 

Mayenne . . 


tingent was 

Mem-the et M. . . 


ordered to join 




Remain . . 1 






On account of 



vrar many 



young men has- 

Pas de Calais 


tened their 

Puy de Dome 


time of service, 

Pyrenees (B.) 


on this aceomit 

Pyrenees (H.) 


the contingent 

Pyrenees (Orient) 


was increased, 





Saone (H.) et . . 



Belfort . . 


Total .. 162,685 

Saone et Loii-e . . 


Sarthe . . 


The number of 



men would 

Savoie (H.) 


have been in- 



creased if the 

Seine luferieure . . 


standard had 

Seine et Marne . . 


been lowered 

Seine et Oise 


one-third of an 

Sevi-es (Deux) . . 





1641 • 

► JL'IllllJ.L. • ■ , , 


Men really 1 , , 

■*r^ oo^ 

Tarn et Gar 


disposable 1 ^^^'^-^ 

Deduct 8,000 men for the navy and there remains for the army 157,337. This 
muuber would be reduced however to 150,000 if 6,000 men, the number of young 
men who received dispensations as being supporters of famihes, being deducted. 

t It is further confirmed by the number of the class of 1870, which was entirely 
enrolled. Vide the preceding table. 


It must also be observed that the army includes a great number 
of men who are not recruited by such enrolments, and who must 
be taken into account. This number is composed of the officers 
and men of the administrative corps, the staff of the artillery and 
engineers, as well as the gendarmes, those who have engaged or 
re-engaged voluntarily, the foreign corps, &c., &c. This perma- 
manent portion of the army, wliich embraces the greater portion 
of the cadres, was largely increased l)y the action of the law of 
.1855, which granted bounties for engagements and re engagements, 
vide page 8 of the first portion of this report, but restrained by 
the limits, while we propose, this portion of the armj'- will embrace 
at all times at least 100,000 to 120,000 men. 

If for the future, as aj^pears desiral)le, the gendarmes be not 
counted as a portion of the effective strength of the army.* 

It is requisite to get rid of the false impression created by the 
high numbers borne on the war estimates, and which in reality 
include a great number of non-combatants or men intended for 
police purpose, the cost of whom should not be charged to army 

However this may be, let us assume the results as they now. 

100,000 to 120,000 men composing the permanent portion of 
the army, 150,000 young men capable of active service, placed each 
year at the disposition of the War INIinister : this is the point of 
departure from which the army must be formed. 

If, therefore, on the one hand, all the men of each class are 
compelled to enter the army each year, and remain there the 
same time, and if, on the other, the effective strength of 
430,000 to 460,000 men with the colours must not be exceeded, 
it will follow that each class can be kept only two years in the 

* Table showing the existuig efFectire strength of that portion of tlio Army not 
proTidecl for by enrohnents. 





g ^^ 
















1. Officers 










2. Departmental Gendarmes 



3. Volunteers for five years 








4. Ee-engaged men 








5. Native troops, Tirailleurs, and ) 
Spatris S 




fi. roreign Coi-ps 



7. Soldiers retained under the 'jolours~^ 
beyond their period of services V 
as a punishment j 








S. Employe's of the Artiiioryand En-'^ 

gineers, workmen engaged or >• 









commissioned ... ) 











t The Eepubhcan Guard of Paris, numbering 5,840, one-half the cost of which 
is paid for by the War Offio-, is not inchided in these figures. 


Now, gentlemen, granting that by means of well-directed 
labour it were possible to instruct and give a military education 
to a soldier in a year or 18 months, which, for special services, is 
more than doulnful — 

It is evident — 

1st. That the men of each class would return to their homes 
at the very moment when they would be the best fitted 
to render iiood service. 

2nd. That sufficient cadres would be almost impossible to 
form, if not formed by men other than those belonging 
to the contingents. 

3rd. Tliat under these conditions the army would be only a 
great school where young men could be trained ; 
but would not constitute that permanent and power- 
fully organized force which it is desirable that this 
country should possess. 

Thus we are connpelled to seek some combination that will 
satisfy both these demands : — 

* 1st. To have and to keep in the army men completely 

trained to the trade of arms. 
2nd. To enrol a large number of men to whom a sufficient 
military instruction may be given. 

Here let us for one moment pause, for this is t^e point 
where divergency of opinion is produced, and upon which we must 
explain ourselves as clearly as possible. 

Without going back to the periods when, even in the greatest 
battles, men fought in some sort hand to hand, and when arms, 
skill, and the force of each individual was of the greatest import- 
ance, it is a recognized fact, if modern wars are reviewed, that 
since the introduction of firearms each improvement in arms, 
each improvement in the material state of a country, has modified 
not only the conditions of war, but also the relative importance of 
the man as a fighting unit. 

According as arms are improved, and their range increased, 
the means of communication improved, and transport becomes 
easier, and the transmission of intelligence more easy and rapid, 
armies become more numerous. On the one hand, the genius, the 
knowledge of the leaders, and the preparation for war becomes 
of more importance ; on the other, the importance of each com- 
batant diminishes. 

It has been, therefore, justly said, the factor that must be 
given to numbers has increased with civilization, while the factor 
to be assigned to the value of each individual unit is reduced in 
the same propt/rtion.* 

Shall we say, then, that number?; will suffice? No ; we cannot 
too often repeat. No ; for if the progress in all branches of the art 

• By this it is not meant that less courage and energy ai'e needed in the soldier, 
but only that the importance of each individual s less. 

of war requires a greater soience, more profound study on the part 
of those who command, it demands still more loudly, a sufficient 
instruction, with the gi'eatest discipline, on the part of those who 
ought to oliey. 

Let us bainsh, then, these dangerous theories. 
But let us also get rid of another delusion, and, perhaps, a 
more dangerous one, which is, that in the actual state of the 
military forces of the various nations in Europe, we can afford 
to have an army strongly organized and composed of old soldiers, 
but the number of which cannot, on a given day, be largely in- 
creased by men already prepared. 

In our opinion, viewing this vSubject entirely from a military 
standpoint of view, that although it would be a profound error 
in the formation of an army not to appreciate at its true value 
the quality of the troops, it would be an error quite as fatal not 
to consider their number. 

Gentlemen, this is the problem. 

The first point to settle is, evidently, the time requisite to 
make a soldier and non-commissioned officer? 

You can understand that no absolute reply can be given to, 
this question, for the time must be longer or shorter, according to 
the arm of the service, according to the greater or less intelligence 
of the man, according to his said position, and the instruction that 
he has received prior to his joining the corps. 

Lastly, and this is most important to remark, this period is 
longer or shorter according to the amount of superintendence 
given b)' the chief, and the zeal that he has thrown into his work. 
Your Committee has debated this subject seriously. On one side 
it has been remarked that military instruction was not everything 
for the soldier ; the importance of military education was quite 
as great, and that the latter requires a longer period. It has been 
said, that amongst men, in some sort disciplined beforehand, in 
a society where distinctions of rank are well marked, this education 
may be more rapid than with us, and that it is requisite that we 
should not allow ourselves to be induced to place the limit of 
our service too low, lest we weaken the army. 

On the other hand, instances have been adduced where the 
bearing and courage of men has been acknowledged by everyone, 
and who, after a short period, have been completely moulded (thanks 
to the continual care that has been bestowed on them) to the duties 
to which they were called.* 

We have observed in several nations that have recently intro- 
duced great alterations into their military organization the length 
of service does not exceed three years in the regular army, and 
four to seven in the reserve, that four years have been deemed 
sufficient for the special arms to whom special advantages were 

Lastly, it has been asked why our soldiers, who are as intelli- 

* The Marine Light Infantrv formed the Battalion do Loriert in less than one 


gent as those of other nations, should require a longer time to 
train. It has therefore been proposed that the time during which 
they should belong to the regular army should be fixed at three 

As this proposition was not adopted, four years was 
named; but the majority of your Committee did not concur, 
nevertheless, having carefully examined the facts of the case, 
after studying what the ablest men have written on this 
subject, lastly, having studied what has taken place amongst 
neighbouring nations, the Conunittee has considered that the 
period during which, under the regulations of the law of 1868, men 
should belong to the regular army should be that laid down in 
the law of 1868 as a maximum, which will allow the army to have 
the elements of a powerful organization.* 

As we pointed out in the first portion of this report, the 
length of service has been fixed as follows : — 

By the law of the year VI, which proclaimed the principle 
of universal service, at 5 years. 

By the law of 1818, for the contingent (the rest of the class 
being entirely free), at six years in the army and six in 
the reserve. 

By the law of 1824, at eight years for the contingent, 
divided into two portions, of which one-half remained 
at home. 

By the law of 1832, at seven years for the contingent, 
similarly divided into two portions. 

Lastly, by the law of 1868, for the contingent, at five years 
in the regular army and four years in the reserve, and 
for that portion of the class not included in the con- 
tingent, at five years in the National Guard " Mobile." 

In 1828, the Infantry Committee of the Superior Council of 
"War proposed — 

1st. To divide France into great military districts, subdivided 

into regimental districts. 
2nd. To pass each contingent in succession through the 

.3rd. To send on indefinite leave all young soldiers after 

three years' service. 
4th. To have depot battalions, whose function should be to 

collect these young soldiers ; at certain periods to train, 

inspect, and confirm the military habits acquired in the 

regular battalions. 

The following is the text of this report, which is to be found in 
the archives of the War Office, and which at tlic present day is of 
much interest : — 

* Vide The Army according to Ihe scheme of General Morand. 


" Meeting of the Wth At/f/ust, 1828. 

" The Comir.ittee is of oiDiniou tliat instruction cannot be pro- 
perly given except Avith the colours to the whole of the soldiers. 
That for this purpose the entire class (that is to saj-, the con- 
tingents fixed by the law of 1824) should be enrolled in succession, 
and then sent on indefinite leave, so that the peace strength of the 
army should be composed of the youngest classes, and the war 
strength of the classes nearest their time of liberation. This 
proposal, which is preferable, as giving better instruction, is also 
that which gives the greatest economy. 

" The Committee is fuither of opinion that the men sent on 
indefinite leave should be assembled each year for short periods, 
and that this duty can only be performed by cadres belonging to 
the regiments of the regular army. 

" Lastly, to decrease the expense caused by the great number of 
men that must be sent each year under the colours and returned 
again to their homes, and to restrict the expense produced by 
short trainings, as also to facilitate such trainings, it appears indis- 
pensable that the kingdom should be divided into five great divi- 
sions, in each of which a certain number of regiments proportionate 
to the population and barracks would recruit and occupy in turn the 
different garrison towns. These military districts to be divided 
into regimental districts for the assembly of men on indefinite leave. 

" The conditions requisite for the instruction of the entire force 
being fulfilled by sending entire classes beneath the colours ; the 
time during which they should remain there to acquire a solid 
instruction and good military habits must next be determined. 

" The Committee is of opinion that about three vears is requisite 
for this purpose, and that after that period the soldiers may pass 
to the war contingent. 

^' Approved by Monseigneur the Dauphin, Marshal Mnrmont, 
Marshal Molitor, Lieut. -Generals Reille, Rogniat, Valee, Bordes- 
souUe, Ruty, Girardin, Bourmont,Loverdo, Pelleport, d'Ambruseac; 
the Intendants, Denniee, et Ragnault ; the Major-General Saint 
Alphonse."— F7'077i the archives of the War Office. 

In the North German Confederation, by the law of the 
9th November, 1867, the length o!" service is three years in the 
ranks, four in the reserve, and five in the Landwehr. 

The Landstrum embraces all men from 17 to 42, who belong 
neither to the army nor navy. 

Three years appearing insufficient for the Cavalrv, special 
advantages are off'ered to retain under the colours as manv men as 
possible for another year. 

In the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, the law of the 5th 
December, 1868, fixes the duration of service at three years in the 
ranks, seven in the reserve, and two in the Landwehr for men who 
join it after completing their period of service in the regular army 
and reserves, 12 years for those men who are incorporated directly 
into the Landwehr. 

If, then, we have accepted a service of five years for the law 


\^liicli we propose, it is, we must acknowledge, with the view that 
the army may have always at its disposal four classes of trained 
men, as we shall shortly explain, and not with the idea that the men 
should remain with their corps for five years. It \\ill rest with the 
War Offi e to arrange, according to the arms of the service, the 
wants of the army, the instruction that has hcen acquired, and the 
financial resources, the incorporation and maintenance of tlie 
effective of each class and the sending of the men on furlough ; 
so as to keep for the special arms and for the cadres everything 
that is requisite that they should possess, to give a ]:)owerful 
or""anization to the army, and at the same time to instruct the 
greatest numher of young men. 

Lastly, gentlemen, in examining this important question, we 
have considered carefully the transition state in which every country 
that alters the law of recruiting and organization of its military forces 
must for some years be placed. 

Doubtless we have faith, as we have already said, in the principles 
which pervade our law ; we have faith in our country. It is aware 
of the enegy, the sacrifices, requisite to save it from decay. Its 
misfortunes have reanimated its patriotism. 

But this new education given to our young men, and which 
will prepare them so well we hope for all that the country expects, — 
this education begins tardily ; time is requisite for it to bear fruit ; 
time is requisite that the people should understand the interest 
they have in acquiring military knowledge before entering tiie army. 
Every day the minds of men will more and more get used to 
this idea; young men will jon the army more and more prepared 
beforehand, knowing much that it is requisite to teach them, and 
thus, being more quickly able to be of use, they will be able to 
return home more quickly, whilst they may be as useful to the 
army as if, like soldiers more dithcult to teacli, they had remained 
with the colours a longer time. 

But while these results are being awaited, it is requisite to 
give certain powers which will be used less each year, and thus 
to take account of an actual state of things, which in the future 
will have no existence, save to fix, as you will see, the number 
of instructed classes of which the regular army accorchng to our 
ideas should consist. 

But what progress soever our social customs mav make, from 
these various points of view, whatever may be the aptitude, the 
preparation of the young men at the moment they are enrolled, it 
is perfectly certain that they will not all remain under the colours 
for the same length of time. The special arms, for example, require 
longer service ; the necessities of the army itself produce too great 
differences between the various sicualions in which young men 
entering the army find themselves. 

Thus, gentlemen, on the one side it is impossible, without 
enfeebling, without disorganizing the army, to keep the young men 
of each class only two years with the colours. 

It is equally impossible to keep them longer without having 
too numerous an arm v. 


On the other hand^ it is al)solutely requisite to keep in the 
army a certain number of men during a period sufficiently h)ng to 
have solid cadres, and to satisfy the requirements of the special arms. 

There is an equal necessity to instruct the largest possible 
numlier of young soldiers. 

Hence some meai s must be adopted to determine who wiil 
have to serve in the various conditions entailed by the force of 
these circumstances. 

The simplest method to adopt for this purpose is that which 
the people ah-eady know, that is to say,, the numeral order assigned 
to each by the ballot. 

This custom comes to us from a very early date, it being that 
used under the old monarchy for the enrolment of recruits in the 
provincial militia. 

It is that adopted after the law of the year VI had submitted 
to compulsory service all the young men of 20 to 25 years of age ; 
in place of enrolling, as had been proposed, the youngest men of 
each class, it was determined as more just to select them by lot. 

This is also the way the laws of recruiting of 1818 and 1832 
have prescribed the composition of the contingents placed at the 
disposal of the Minister of V\'ar; complaints of its action have 
never been raised. Nevertheless, under the agency of these laws, 
the difference between the situations of men drawing different 
numbers has been far greater than that proposed by oui law, some 
having to serve seven years, others being freed from all military 

With the law now under discussion such inequalities cannot 
take place; all young men of each class form a portion of the 
regular army or its reserves for the same period. The only 
difference that can arise is from men being sent into the various 
arms of the service, and the necessity of their serving longer in 
certain regiments in order to satisfy the exigencies of good military 

The Bill, therefore, proposes to do what is simplest, most 
just, and most conformable to our customs, by directing that the 
various destinations of the men be settled by lot, a method 
well understood by the people, and in accordance with their 

But as other solutions of this difficult problem, have been 
proposed and discussed at great length by your Committee, it is 
requisite that they should be brought to your notice. 

Amongst others, two systems have been brought before the 
Committee which have been much discussed. 

Both concur with the Bill under discussion in requiring com- 
pulsory personal militarv service. 

Both admit that in tlie constitution of our army it is impossible, 
especially for the special services and the cadres, to require only 
two years' service with the colours. 

Both provide that all the men of each class, who are not unfit 
for military service, should form a portion of the regular army, 
and be placed at the disposal of the Minister for War, and should 


all be enrolled on the registers of various corps, and whether or 
not with the colours should belong to the regular army during the 
same period. 

These are important points which it is requisite to give in 
detail, as upon them the Committee is unanimous. 

But after that a divergence of opinion begins. 

One of these systems does not deem it requisite that all the 
young men of a class should receive military instruction ; it is 
content with enrolling them in the various corps ; it seeks to 
incorporate only a certain number of men wlio should serve 
during the time fixed by the law, unless sent on furlough as now 
takes place with the actual law. 

Thus it is only the first portion of the class which really 
undergoes military service ; as for the other, doubtless, it is not 
freed entirely as by the law of 1832, neither is it sent into the 
National Guard Moble as the law of 1868 directs, but it remains 
at home, only each man is always at the disposal of the War 
Minister, either for reviews or drill, or for service in the auxiliary 
branches ; in short, if he is required for the army he may be sent 
either definitely or temporarily into the corps in which he is enrolled. 

The selection of the men forming the first portion of the class 
incorporated with the army is made by means of the numbers 
drawn in each parish, and according to a fixed proportion ; it is 
similarly by the order of tlie numbers that men are called, if the 
second portion of the class, is required. 

The Honourable General Ducrot, who has made this proposal, 
has conceived it in the following terms : — 

" Aii. 40. All the young men of the class called who are not 
" exempted on account of infirmitj'', or whose services are 
*•' not dispensed with in accordance with the provisions 
" of this law, who have not obtained overslaughs, or who 
" are not told oft' for the navy, form a portion of the 
" regular army, and are placed at the disposal of the War 
" Minister. 

'• They are all enrolled in various corps. 

" Art. 41. Each year the War Minister fixes the number of 
'• men to be incorporated with the army according to the 
" requirements of the service and the money allowed in 
^' the estimates. 

" The selection is made by the numbers drawn in each 
" parish from the first portion of the parish recruiting 
" list, as determined by the above decision. 

" Art. 42. Young men not immediately incorporated are 
'' allowed to remain at home, but are always at the 
" disposal of the Minister of War, either for roll calls, 
" for assemblies and drill, or for being specially employed 
" in certain auxiliary branches of the srmy as doctors, 
" surgeons, veterinary surgeons, survej'orSj telegraphists, 
*' armourers, or mechanics of any kind. 

'•' All may be embodied temporainly or entirely into the 


" corps to whicli they belong, every time the servic^ 
" requires them, but always in the order of tiie number 
" of each class." 

This system, the Honourable General who brought it forward, 
and whose opinion had great weight, informed the Committee 
was very similar to that in force in a neighbouring nation, who, 
from the impossibility that exists of compelling every man to 
pass three years with the colours, leaves at home the men who 
cannot be included in the contingent. They are called up the 
following or some ether year, but it does not the less follow that 
some receive no military education, except when called upon to 
fill the gaps or in case of war. 

This is, doubtless, true, but there is a fact that has not been 
given sufficient weight to : it is, that the nation to which he 
referred was composed of 18,000,000 in i860, and nevertheless 
called up 63,000 men who remained not less than three years with 
the colours. 

Consequently the number of men who received no military 
education must have been very slight, if we grant that the exemp- 
tion, dispensations and overslaughs are given in anything like the 
same proportion as with us. 

If, then, it is desired to establish conditions similar to those to 
which allusion has been made, it will be seen that the number of 
men actually incorporated must be greater.'^ But in order that 
this may be the case, the length of service must be much reduced, 
and that the proposal does not admit ; the number of men incorpo- 
rated each year with the army must be smaller the. longer the men 
are kept with the corps, and the result of such a system would be 
that hardly one-half of each class could be called under the 

Doubtless, thanks to volunteers for one year, which form a 
portion of all systems, a greater number of young men than what 
we have pointed out would receive military instruction. Doubtless, 
also, by clearing the ranks by furloughs and sending the entire class 
home on the completion of the fourth year, it would be possible 
to incorporate greater numbers. But the other portion, still 
very numerous, would remain uninstructed, for, according to the 
Honourable General, it is only at the moment when these men 
are called on that they would be drilled or put in a situation to 
render service to the State. 

Your Committee, gentlemen, whilst acknowledging that the 
system under discussion is preferable to that existing at present, 
since it proposes that all the young men of the class should be at 
the disposal of the Minister for War and should be enrolled in 
various corps, is yet unable to accept it. 

In our country, which has not yet formed the habits which 
spring from the application of the principle of universal service, it 

* If with a population of 18 million -i, cacli year there are 63,000 young men to be 
incorporated and eduimted iinder the cokiirs, with a population of 36 niiilious the 
number shoiUd be 126,000. 



is to be feared that owing to the power of leaving a portion of the 
class at liome, without any military instruction, it is to be feared 
that the errors of the past would soon again spring up 

From a natural feeling, perhaps from strong convictions, the 
commandants of corps and the military administration would seek 
to keep men as long as possible with the colours, and the number 
of men incorporated in place of increasing, and length of service 
in place of decreasing, as the military spirit and instruction of the 
country increases would, in all probability, remain stationary. 

The second portion of the class would by degrees escape all 
obligations, aud its situation would be so different from that of the 
first portion; that it would become disgusting to the people, who 
as a consequence would demand substitution. 

Lastly, when in the hour of danger it became requisite to call 
on this second portion of the class it would be by no means 
prepared. It would be only what the National Guard Mobile was 
in accordance with the laws of 1868. It was neither equipped nor 
instructed ; it possessed nothing; much time elapsed before it could 
be utilized, meantime the country suffered fearfully. 

This would be exactly what the second portion of the con- 
tingent would be if untrained. 

Your Committee ask, the whole idea of the law is that all 
young men fit for military service should be clothed, armed and 
taught. All will pass a time in the ranks, longer or shorter, on 
account of the requirements of the army; but, first, all will come 
there to obtain military instruction, in order that in the future 
they may all also seek and find the means ready prepared to 
make them useful. 

The second proposal has been made by the Generals Chanzy, 
Chareton, Loysel, Des Pallieres and Billot; in one sense it differs 
less from what we ask you to adopt. 

According to this proposal young men who wish to serve in 
the special services, and who prove that they are suitable for them, 
are to be admitted at once when the lots are drawn ; it is only if 
un insufficient number volunteer for these services that young men 
of the class are to be detailed according to their fitness and in order 
of number. 

By this proposal the entire class must pass through the ranks; 
it is acknowledged, precisely as in the Bill, that a portion only can 
serve for one year, but in place of selecting this port'on before the 
class enters the army it is detailed at the termination of a year's 

Then the men sent home are taken exclusively from amongst 
those who can read and write, and are the best educated ; these 
men being selected by lot. 

So far as allowing the young men to select the arms of the 
service they prefer to join there can be no difficulty about that, 
it is what is usually done. It appears but natural that when the 
lists are revised, and the various aptitudes are known, that the 
young men should do this. 

Wc have mserted a special article (Article 29) for this purpose. 


But we aclinnwledge we feel some hesitation to insert in the 
law an article which, in case a sufiicient number of voung men did 
not volunteer for the special arms, would detail them for that pur- 
pose by the numbers they have drawn and their special aptitude, 
for the following reason. 

When the question of recruiting is dealt with, it is desirable 
that everything should be clear and precise, that both privileges 
and duties should be clearly defined, so that no disputes can 
possibly arise on the application of this rule. 

See when it is requisite to pronounce on the causes of exemp- 
tion, that is to say, to make that on which the fate of men depends 
clear ; see how our laws surround the councils of revision with 
precautions which is necessary, in order that all requisite checks 
may exist. 

It has been understood that in these matters the people have 
so great an interest, that this tribunal, which is the soie judge, 
should be composed of the representatives of the people. 

But this tribunal has only one duty to perform, once it gives 
its decision it does not again interfere, and the young men declared 
fit for military service are put at once at the disposal of the mili- 
tary authorities. Then it must be the latter authoritv that classes 
them according to their fitness lor service, and which alone has 
the power of determining this. 

Now, if according to the law it is just that this classification 
should follow the ballot numbers, nothing can be more natural, 
and we repeat this is what is, or ought to be done at the present 
moment, and it is quite right that a ministerial order should 
point this out as the proper course to follow when it is prac- 
ticable. But to add an article to the law, making this which is 
only a matter of favour a matter of right, would cause, we think, 
more trouble than convenience, therefore we have not added it. 
As for the proposal to send home young men after one year's 
service, and to select them exclusively amongst those whose mili- 
tary instruction shall be most advanced, and who shall be selected 
by lot, doubtless there is something very attractive in this pro- 
posal at first sight. 

In short, it appears a stimulus to good conduct, to constant 
efforts, to acquire as rapidly as possible the instruction deemed 
sufficient, and from this point of view good results might be 
expected from it. 

But when we examine it closer, gentlemen, one is struck by 
the fact that the emulation so produced has but one object, yiz., to 
get out of the army as quickly as possible. 

Now, this bemg the prize offered, the man will gradually come 
to regard it, and not promotion, as the object of all his exertions. 
Promotion is at present his chief object, he then would dread it, 
because more would undoubtedly be asked from him if promoted, 
and thus this system, even in the instruction of young recruits, 
would not have the happy results hoped for. 

It would, we believe, be the same in other respects. 

At present the young man who, before the revision, draws a 

E 2 

lot. knows, once lie lias got a number, wh.etlier he makes a portion 
of the conlingeiit or not; he also knows to what conditions he is 
submitted, and his family understands his situation. 

Doubtless, under the new lavr, the obligations of the youug 
man will be more extensive; he will remain at the disposal of the 
armv during the whole time fixed, and he ought, in every case, to 
spend with the colours a time, long or short, as may be determined 
on; but from tlic moment he is enrolled, until he quits his house, 
his position is unchanged, his individual interest, that is to say, the 
interest of the entire population, necessitate this. 

It is equally requisite for the interest of the army. 

It is requisite that when the young soldiers join, the com- 
manding officer should know how long they will form a portion 
of the corps he commands. On the other hand, if the officers 
see every year tlie best drilled and most efficient men leave the 
service, if they only keep the worst men, will they not find their 
task disagreeable, will they not feel that esprit clc corps, that 
regimental pride, that all wish to preserve, and which is in fact a 
portion of their own honour, will not they feel this diminished .'' 

Lastly, will not a selection amongst all men having one year of 
service, between those whose instruction appears to be the most 
forward, and who must draw lots in order to be sent home, and 
those who are not so selected, will not this selection produce 
discontent perhaps not uttered, but at least feelings that 
will sour many minds, and which will be most prejudicial to 

We have serious misgivings on this subject. 

Thus, how favourable soever the majority of your Committee 
is to all that could inspire earnest emuJation in the army, to 
all that could excite the man, whatever might be his grade, to 
develope and improve his instruction, it could not adopt the 
proposal we are discussing. The Committee desire to express 
its respect for the ideas that have dictated this proposal ; it 
sought to adopt it, but after careful examination its application 
appeared to produce difficulties of more than one kind, which 
it was not advisable to encounter. 

For the solution of this problem, the Bill we ask you to adopt, 
provides, as you have already seen, — 

That all the young men of tlie class called on, and acknow- 
ledged as fit for the service, shall form a portion of the regular army, 
and shall be placed at the disposal of the Minister of War ; 

That all are to be enrolled in the various corps in the 
army, and sent either to the said corps, battalions or schools of 
instruction ; 

Lastly, that each year the Minister for War fixes the number 
of young soldiers who must reniain more than one year under the 
colours, and that the selection of these men will be made in the 
proportion fixed, according to the numbers they have drawn, on the 
recruiting lists of their parishes. 

We beheve it absolutely requisite, that for the destination of 
these men the military authorities should know beforehand what it 


has to depend on. As for young men who are detailed to pass 
only one year in the army, they will be well aware that if their 
instruction is not sufficient during the year, they may be com- 
pelled to remain a longer time with their corps. Similarly, 
if after six months they have shown themselves well taught 
and fit for duty, they may be sent on furlough; there is therefore 
jin incentive to exertion for those who now serve only a year, but 
who can nevertheless, if they feel it their vocation, aspire to 
all grades. 

You see, gentlemen, by what considerations vre have been 
guided in fixing — 

1st. Five years as the period during which all healthy French- 
men belong to the regular army, whether under the colours 
or not. 

2nd. In requiring that all the young men of each class should 
be enrolled in the various corps, and be bound to serve 
under conditions which doubtless vary- according to the 
exigencies of the army and its constitution. 

ord. Lastly, to fix by lot, when the men are enrolled, the 
various destinations they should according to their 
aptitude receive. 

These resolutions, we must not conceal from you, have not all 
o1)tained the assent of the Government. 

Thus the Minister of War has told us that he agrees with us 
o far as — 

1st. The principle of universal service. 

2nd. The institution of volunteers for a year. 

3rd. The length of time during which all Frenchmen, declared 
fit for service, ought to make a part of the regular army. 

4th. Lastly, upon the drawing of lots and the enrolment of all 
young men of each class in the various corps, but he cannot 
admit that all these young men should be incorporated and 
pass all under the colours according to the destination to be 
given them. 

He thinks it is not requisite to incorporate more than the 
number of young soldiers required for the different arms of the 
service, and that they should continue to serve only as long as 
they are required. 

And that these young men should be taken by the numbers 
they have drawn, the others be sent home, but should remain at 
the disposal of the Minister for War, to be called either to 
flil vacancies in the corps in which they are enrolled, or in mass 
if circumstances require it. 

As for their military instruction, the Minister thinks that it is 
possible, by arrangements to be made hereafter, to give such an 

The Minister also wished that the duration of the re-engage- 
ment should be fixed at two years as a minimum, and four years as 
•a rir xin-ium ; he thinks that within these limits re-engagements 


will offer none of the inconveniences pointed out, and will offer 
men such inducements as may lead tliem to exert themselves. 

As you will doubtless remark, the great point of divergence 
between the Government and the Committee is that poition of 
the Bill which directs that all the young men of each class shall be 
subjected to such a bona fide instruction as shall enable them to 
come already taught and prepared when they are called out. 

The reasons for this rule you know ; we have pointed them 
out in the first portion of this report. We have still further 
developed them when analysing the system proposed by the 
Honourable General Ducrot. 

They rest besides on ideas which have reference not alone 
to the interest of the army, and they have such force in our eyes, 
that, despite the observations of the War Minister and the great 
regret we experience at not being able to coincide with him, 
we feel compelled to abide by our proposal. 

Let us now see what force the new law will place at the 
disposal of the country. 

Five classes, each composed of 150,000 men, equals 750,000. 
But losses by death, discharges, &c., must take place each 
year, and it is admitted in all the calculations upon recruiting that 
these may be assumed at 4 per cent, for the first, 3 per cent, for 
the second, and 2 per cent, for the remaining years. 

Thus after live years the force will not be 750,000 but 704,720. 
Four reserve classes of the regular army will furnish after the 
same deduction, 510,380. 

This will give a total of 1.215,000; this added to the perma- 
nent portion of the army ; or that not recruited by enrolment, and 
which numbers 120,000 men, will give for the regular army as 
fellows: — 

Regular Army. 

Portion not recruited by enrolment . . . . 120,000 

Five classes, deductions being made for deaths, &c. 704,720 

Total 824,720 

Add reserve, four classes, deductions being made 

for deaths, &c. 500,380 

Grand total 1,325,100 

But of the five classes enrolled for the regular army, the last, 
or youngest, class is not yet trained, and if because it is enrolled 
it figures on the muster rolls as effective, it is only after a certain 
lapse of time that it can be considered as possessing any real 
military value. 

If, then, it is desirable to get rid of shams, it is necessary to 
calculate tlie force which the country can make use of in the day 
of danger, without trusting to this class, for in our opinion it is 
only the four trained classes of the regular army, united to the per- 

manent portion not recruited by enrolment, which forms the army 
ready to enter into hne of battle. 

Tliis is why, while we allow that except for the formation of 
cadres and special arms, it is not requisite that the men sliould in 
ordinary circumstances be more than three or four years with the 
colours, we have nevertheless asked tliat five years may be fixed 
as the period during which each cla ^s should belong to the regular 
army. We ha\e been desirous that the army should ahvavs have 
four trained classes, and that the young men before they enter the 
reserve, where the duties are different, should serve this period of 
five years. 

Thus, Gentlemen, for the regular army : — 

1st. The permanent portion . . . . 120,000 

2nd. Four trained classes . . . . . . 554,720 

Total 674,720 

The reserve of the regular army .. .. 510,380 

Grand Total 1,185,100 

This will be the force disposable, while the youngest class 
receives the requisite training. 

It must be added that a certain number of young men de- 
termined by special conditions, are only summoned in case of M'ar. 
Also that a certain number of young men are classed as being only 
fitted for duty in the auxiliary branches of the arm}^ and these a 
careful administration will draw on, for such services, leaving the 
men fit to carrj'' arms in the ranks. 

Behind these, 1,185,100 men, there is the territorial army, 
composed of men from 29 to 34 years of age, and organized 
entirely on a different footing, so that entire freedom may be given 
to the regular army and its reserve. 

Doubtless these figui*es appear to you very high in comparison 
with those existing formerh", but we must not confine ourselves to 
a consideration of these facts by themselves. 

A law on the recruiting of the army, a law constituting the 
military forces of a nation, must be looked at as regards the forces 
of other nations. It should place the country on the same footing 
as other nations; the sacrifices called for may be heavv and grinding, 
but they are the price we must pay for the independence of the 

Gentlemen, if you look across our frontier you will see the 
great ti'ansformations that the military institutions of the great 
States have undergone during the last few years ; you will see 
what forces they can mobilize ; and we think that, with the army 
we propose, you will acknowledge that France will be by no means 
in a state inferior to what she was. 



Russia has, by a ukase dated 4th-16th Novemberj 1870> 
introduced a new principle into her military institutions, and 
seeks to alter them; it is not, therefore, very easy to give an exact 
account of the results of the system she has adopted. 

Her ohject is to borrow from local and reserve troops, hitherto 
intended for service in the interior of the country, and the instruc- 
tion of recruits, a sufficient number of cadres to form the reserve 
of infantry and foot artillery. 

The young men of each contingent selected by lot for incor- 
poration serve from 21 to 36 years, namely, seven years under 
the colours, and eight years in the reserve. 

Lastly? with regard to the entire male population capable of 
bearing arms, and estimated at four millions, it is thought that 
Russia can put a force of two million of men on foot, several years, 
however, appear requisite to attain this result, but, meantime, the 
actual constitution of the Russian army is as follows : — 

1st troops (active or mobile). 
2nd troops (local or reserve). 

These are again divided into regulars and irregulars (Cossacks). 

The active or mobile troops include the guard and the army of 
the line ; they are intended to take the field at once, and are 
provided with a material and equipment requisite for this purpose. 
These troops have no fixed garrison, and may be concentrated 
anywhere in the Empire, as the government may direct. 

The local troops are, in peace time, in permanent garrisons ; 
they are intended to furnish the garrisons of fortresses. They 
include 80 hattalions of reserve infantry, who are chiefly intended 
for instructing recruits ; squadrons and batteries exist for the 
same purpose. 

The irregular troops consist chiefly of cavalry, and a certain 
number of horse batteries, which are devoted to active or local 
duties, according to circumstances. 

The active army is composed as follows : — 

Active Aeitt — War FcoTi^a. 



188 Eegiments of Infantry, at 3.397 pci- regiment 
30 Battalions of Rifles, 394 per battalion 





Total lufantiy 





56 Cavahy Eegimeuts — 938 men, G33 horses 
^Q Cavalry Regiments of the Don 

Total Cavalry. . 

OffK-crs un.l 









47 Brigades of Foot Artillery, 4 battalions, 8 guns eac-:: 

18 Brigades of Horse Artillerv, ditto 

14 Brigades of Horse Ai-tillery (Cossacks), ditto 




Total Ai-tiUery 







11 Battalions of Engineers, 6 Domi-Batlalious 
Pontomiiers . . . . . . . . . . 




Total Engineers 


Pares, Artillery, Engineers, Telegraphs, &c. 



Grand Total of Troops in F/mt Line. 






Si-> <_e Giiis. 


These troops liave. since 1S66, been several times assembled 
in various camps. 


The law of the 5th November, 1 868, which has proclaimed 
universal compulsory service in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, fixed the duration of service — 


At 3 years in the regular army ; 
7 years in the reserve ; 
2 vears in the Landwehr, for men who enter it after 

fulfilling their time in the army and reserve; 
12 years in the landwehr for men who enter it directly. 
The men named for the reserve substitutes may, until the age 
of 30, be placed in the ranks. 

The war strength of the permanent army has been fixed at 
800,000 men for ten years, not including the frontier trooj^s, who 
amount to 45,135. 

In case of war the landwehr may be used to aid the regular 
army; it is composed of 170 battalions and 67 squadrons, forming 
an effective of 192,674 men. 

So that, leaving out the reserve substitutes kept to fill up any 
vacancies in the active army, and disregarding the landsturm, the 
total force that Austro-Hungary can moblise is— ' 


Army 800,000 

Frontier troops . . . . . . 45,135 

Landwehr 192,671 

Total 1,037,706 

The countries representing the Reichsrath furnish — 

For the army 470,368 

For the landwehr 101,929 

Hungary furnishes — 

For the army . . .... 329,632 

For the landwehr . . . . . . 90,742 


AVhen the military law receives its fall development in the 
countries annexed to the North German Confederation and in 
South Germany, the army of the German Empire will include 
18 corps and a half, composed each of 41,000 men on the active 
or mobile list, and 40 to 43,000 depot or garrison troops,, or a 
total of 1,517jOOO men. These 18 corps already exist. 


When the new military law comes completely into operation, 
which it will do in 1874-75, the total force of Italy will be 
750,000 men. 

First line . . . . . . . , 350,000 

Provincial iiiiliiia . . . . . . 200,000 

Substitute tioops in military districts 200,000 

Total 750,000 


Lastlv, if you will take into account the deduction which must 
always be made from the army, and which cannot be avoided, yon 
will arrive at the number of what are termed the normal non- 

Tiiat is to say, the category of military men who do not figure 
on the field of battle amounts to 90,000 men; then you must add 
the army of occupation in Algiers, about 40,000 men (66,000 have 
been asked for 1872). Lastly, actual deductions from tlie numl^er 
under arms, which are about 36,000 men, or a total of 166,000 
men, who appear on the estimates, but who cannot be counted, 
amongst the troops disposable for defence. 

These men are — 

aucl mcu in cliavge of Kemouiit "1 


1. Staff of Fortresses .. .. 

2. Departmental Police . . 

3. Fusiliers and Pioneers of discipline companies 

4. Cavalry School 

5. Riding School men 

6. Veterinary Surgeon 

Establishments .. .. .. .. 

7. Artillery Workmen . . . . . . . . , . 

8. Workmen of Train of Equi2:>ages 

■9. Chaplains, Surgeons, Apothecaries, Army and Garrison 
Chaplains, Interpreters, Officers of Administration, of 
Inteudance, Clothing, Camp Equipment, Harness, sub- 
sistence, and Hospitals, and Military Prisons 

10. Military Workmen, Clerks, Butchers, and Bakers, , 

11. Hospital Corps 

12. Supernumeraries, such as Armovtrers, Boot Makers 

Saddlers, Smiths, &c. 

13. Effectives absolutely requisite in time of war (old sol- 

diers) for training recruits. . 











2nd. — Mex not atailabl-e foe Home Defence, 
Army of Occupation in Algiers , . . . . . . . 40,000 

3rd. — Men to be actf^vxiy deducted as a Peejiane-st Loss feom 
THE Eanks. 

1. Sick 

2. Men on leave . . 

3. On Command, in Workshops, Recrviiting Est ablishmeuts,&c. 

4. Under Punishment . . 

5. Men intended for Baggage Gruard, Muleteers, &c. . . 


Grand Total 


Under the proposed law the actual number of normal non- 
combatants may be reduced by using the men classed as fit for 
duty with the auxiliary services. 

We recall these facts, gentlemen, in order that truth may come 
clearly to light and nothing be kept in the dark. 

France should know what slie rests on when the number of 
men borne on the estimates is calculated, and what, without any 
deception, is at her disposal. 


But, gentlemen, it is requisite that we should tell you not only 
the number of men that the application of our law will put at the 
disposal of the country, we have also to point out the amount of 
instruction and military education that these men will acquire, in 
order that you may estimate what will be the value of the perma- 
nent organized force that it will offer. 

That, it must be remembered, is the first portion of the problem. 
Thus, although we are only discussing the law of recruiting, and 
your Committee proposes hereafter to deal with the organization 
of the army and the constitution of its cadres, yet we would not 
completely fulfil our task if we did not show you that while the 
entire class will be passed through the ranks it is possible, while 
keeping the effective strength within reasonable limits, to have, on 
the one hand, a sufficient number of men trained completely as 
soldiers, and, on the other, to give a certain amount of military 
instruction to those who, remaining a shorter time in the army, 
may be sent on furlough, and yet held at the disjoosal of the 
military authorities. 

Various arrangements may be made for this purpose, for it is 
possii)le, having incorporated a sufficient number of young soldiers, 
to send a large or smaller nuinber on furlough, when they shall 
have 1;een trained for the various arms of tlic service, according to 
the wants of the army, and by this means to alter the number of 
men kept with the colours. This was what was done by the law of 
1832, by which the first portion of the contingent only was incor- 
porated; when it was considered requisite to instruct a larger number 
of young soldiers, it was customary to limit the service to four 

But whatever system he adopted, it is evident that the first 
thing to be done is to determine the effeclive strength that the 
country wishes to preserve under the colours, since that of course 
must be the basis of all calculations. 

To be able to place before you the results of the project which 
we submit, and to make you understand in some measure its 
mechanism, m'C must then fix this amount. 

This we ol^tain from the proposals made to the Assembly by 
tlie Government which in our opinion fixes the numbers at a figure 
far from too large, deductions being made as already referred to. 

404,000 men, including the gendarmerie, have been asked by 
tlie Government for the year 1872. 

Taking this number, then, as a point of departure for the expla- 
nation we propose to give as to the composition of the regular army, 
such as will on one of many hypotheses result from the action of our 
law, we will assume that each year 15,000 "volunteers for a year,^' 
clothed, equipped, and kept at their own cost, will come forward ; 

* " When," said Marshal Niel, '• we tliink of war, it is requisite to instruct a 
larger number of soldiers. What have we done ? we have limited the service to four 
years, and we have embodied the men of the young reserve ahat is to say, the second 
portion of the contingent,) in the army, so that there is not in the army any man 
who is not completely instructed." 


tMs number will dovibtlcss not appear too great, when you re- 
member that the substitution and exonerations have been every 
year 23;,000 on a contingent of 100,000, and in 1859, upon a 
contingent of 140,000 men, the figure rose to 42,000. 

Doubtless the diplomas and examinations required will not 
allow all the young men, who, under existing regulations, seek sub- 
stitutes, to be admitted as volunteers for a year ; this, we need not 
say, is what we wish ; but allowing for the progress of instruction 
which the excitement to industry the new law will dovdjtless 
produce, we think the number of 15,000 on a total of 150,000 is 
not too large to assume, as the numl^er who are likely to fulfil the 
conditions required by this kind of engagement. 

Lastly, remember that the permanent portion of the army 
includes now 120,000 men ; and let us see what, under these con- 
ditions, will result from the possible combinations of our law, and 
what results it w'ill give. 

With 150,000 young men enrolled, of whom 15,000 will be 
volunteers for one vear, the number to be borne on the estimate 
will be 135,000 men." 

If out of these 135,000 yourg soldiers the Minister for War 
determines on keeping 75,000 on an average four years with the 
colours, there remains 60,000 who need give only one year to their 
instruction. We arrive thus at the total number of the army 
without counting the volunteers for one year, or the men on fur- 

1st year 135,000 

2nd ., 72,000* 

3rd „ 69,840* 

4th „ 68,440' 

Add permanent portion . . . . 120,000 

Total . , . . 465,280 men 

Such will be the portion paid for by the State; all being eflfective 
and without any deductions except those foreseen, which is not 

If we add to this number 15,000 volunteers of a year, that is ta 
say, young men capable of acquiring a sufficient military instruction, 
we arrive at a total of 480,000 men. 

In addition to which the men sent away at the end of the fourth 
year, forming still a portion of the regular army, amount to 67-080, 
that is to say, a real total of 547,000 men, 465,000 only being 
paid for by the estimates. 

But this is not all. The regular army still has other volunteers 
for a year, viz., those who have completed the year for which they 
have engaged. 

* That is, 75,000 men, deducting 4, 3, and 2 per cent, per year. 


It has, in addition, the men who after one year of service are 
placed at tlie disposal of the regular army, and at the orders of the 
Minister for War. The volunteers for one year, deducting the 15,000 
already included, number 57,190, and are young men well in- 
structed, who have at least warrants as non-commissioned officers. 
The men at the disposal of the regular army number 220.000, so 
that the total number becomes 824,000 men. 

However, to understand clearly the number that may 1)e put in 
line by this organisation, we must, as already pointed out, deduct 
from these 824,000 men, the youngest class, or 150,000 men. The 
active army will therefore consist of — 

The permanent portion which does not 
recruit by enrolment, and composing the 
cadres 120,000 

Soldiers of 2, 3, 4, and 5 j-ears' service . . 277>COO 

Men at the disposal of the War Minister, 

who have served one year . . . . 220 000 

Volunteers for a year >. .. ., 57,000 

Total .. .. 674,000 

So far as the reserve of the army is concerned, it offers condi- 
tions still more favourable, for out of 510,000 men 255,000 will have 
served five years with the colours, 202,000 will have served one year 
and 53,000 will be volunteers for a year. 

Thus, to repel iiivasion, France, without counting the territorial 
army, will dispose, as we have already said, of 653,000 men trained 
to the profession of arms, 110,000 having, as volunteers for one 
year, obtained M^arrants as nun-conmiissioned officers, and 422,000 
possessing an instruction sufficient to bring to the army when 
incorporated the elements of a real force.* 

* Table sliowiug the Effective of tlie Army in 

tlie foregoing liypotb 

;sis : — 

for a Year. 

At the 
disi>osal of 
the ILilitary 


'Permanent portion 120,000 

1st year 135,0i:0 

Vlndycar 72,000 

Kegular ^ 3rcl year 6^,000 

Army. 4tli year 68,0i;0 





l 824.720 

Voth year on furlougli 67,080 


Toral 532,360 



/ 1st year 63.740 

"'''^■'<' i 3rd year ' ... 63,1 

1,4th year 61,8b0 



i 510,380 

Total 2,o5 U'O 




Deduct the last class enrolled as nut Icing taught 



i, 185,000 


We do not conceal from ourselves that amongst the volunteers 
for a year, a certain number of young men are intended for civil 
careers, neither do we conceal the fact that tlie deductions which 
we have foreseen may be exceeded, that a portion of the army 
must be employed in instructing the last class enrolled, although it 
may be possible to reduce this number. But this must occur 
with every system. But as a set off, there are many young men 
whose services have been dispensed with, or have been classed 
for the auxiUary services, and in case of invasion, we repeat, 
these men would be found very valuable. 

But, gentlemen, the combination which we lay before you in 
order that you may see the working of the law is by no means the 
most favourable for its execution. As we have not taken into 
account that by sending men on leave a much larger number of 
young men may be prepared. We have not taken into account 
*' overslaughs," or sending men back in anticipation, or in short all 
that must be allowed to give elasticity to a law of recruiting, and 
modify the number of men with the colours ; these things will pro- 
duce a considerable effect. 

If you refer to a discussion that took place in 1869, when an 
examination was made to determine what would be the result of 
the legislation actually in force on the service of men with their 
corps, you will observe that it was acknowledged and declared that 
this period would be much shorter than tliat fixed by the law.* 

If this idea of three years' actual service with the colours be 
applied, and a deduction be made for the last class enrolled, at the 
end of five years' service in the army and four in the reserve, the 
state of affairs would be as follows : — 

In the Regular Army. 

100,000 men having 2 years' service. 
288,160 ., having .S years' service. 
120,000 „ permanent portion of the army. 


In the Reserve. 
358,050 men who have served 3 years with the colours. 


Add at the disposal of the Military Authorities — 

* In 1869, when the law on the contingent was under discussion, a note was sen 
to the Committee hy Marshil Kiel to tlie following etfec;:— The service counts 
doubtless from the 1st July, but the contingent is not called until after the 1st 
October, when the harvest is collected ; in adJiiion to which the men are generally 
sent home before the expirition of the prescribed time. And when it is added that 
those who serve with zeal and are not bad shots havoleive of from 6 to 7 months 
before their periorl of service cxpir.?, it must be acknowledged that a gooJ soldier 
need be absent from his family in time of peace for a period of barely three years. 

• G4 

57,090 Volunteers fur a year having a Vkarra;;t as non- 
commissioned officers 
109,470 who have passed one year in the army. 

In Reserve. 

52,670 Volunteers for a year. 

99,G60 men who have served for one year. 


1,185,110 Grand Total. 

It is evident that the number of men who receive a complete 
military education, may perhaps be higher than we have shown, 
and consequently the number of men who receive only one year's 
instruction may be much diminished. 

If, in the application of the new law for the length of service 
with the effective strength of corps, the data given in 1869 be 
admitted, the number of men entirely trained to the profession of 
arms will be much increased both for the regular army and its 
reserve, which the law deems will bring into the ranks a very 
powerful contingent. 

These, however, are arrangements of detail, which it is the pro- 
vince of the Government to make; they doubtless will each year 
become more simple, according as the military education of the 
country extends, and the standard of education generally is raised. 
Full latitude must be given to the Government in these parti- 

So far as the special arms are concerned, it is sufficient to see 
the proportion in which the decision of the effective strength of the 
ai'my is made, to be convinced that with all possible combinations 
their recruitment will always be completely assured; doubtless the 
proportions l)etween the various arms will be modified, but what- 
ever it may be there will be no difficulty in adjusting matters. f 

* AVe are well aware of the that the incorporation of a greater number of men 
will increase the cost of the first outfit and kit. This, for a foot soldier, cost.4 
51. lis. 8(7. ; if, then, in place of incorporating 90,000 men j'ou incorporate 135,000, 
an excess of 251,250^ is caused. But on the other hand, on account of their incor- 
poration not taking- place so soon as provided for, which is always the case, and also 
by sending well taught men away before the expiration of the year, this expense 
may be more than covered. 

f By the estimate of 1872 the following is the strength of the various Corps : — 
Number of men in excess of the strength of Corps . . 7,000 

Infantry 298,200 

Cavalry .. 60,000 

Artillery 45,000 

Engineers 9,000 

Military Train 8,000 

Troops of the Administration . . . . . . . . 8,000 


Departmental Gendarmerie. . 
Eepublican Guard of Paris . . 







The presence of all tlie healthy young men of each class coming 
either into corps to remain there the time required by the wants of 
the various arms of the service, or in battalions or schools of in- 
struction to acquire a certain amount of military knowledge, and 
form habits of discipline will make the army a great school where 
each will learn the duties of a soldier before exercising the rio-hts 
of a citizen. 

Lastly, thanks to the classification, according to profession and 
aptitude of all the young men forming a portion of the army, or 
its reserve, it will be a vast cadre, in which, when requisite, all men 
placed according to their capacity, may render great service to 
the State. 

From the point of view of the constitution itself of the armv, 
the project that we submit to you offers to the country guarantees 
as important and greater than those that flow from existing 

But you should know that we have been governed by other 
considerations than those connected with the army. We think 
a military law is a social institution from which may flow important 
reforms in our customs, in our habits, and in our legislation. 

Thus, gentlemen, the return to the principle of universal com- 
pulsory military service, the return we advisedly say for this prin- 
ciple was what SO years ago we possessed, other nations borrowed 
it when we abandoned it ; to return to the principle of compulsory 
service, to mix up in the army all ranks of society, will raise at 
once not only the military character, but also, what is more im- 
portant, the character of the citizen. 

It will give our army all the elements of a powerful organi- 
sation, with solidly formed cadres ; it will cause a large number of 
young men, who have received a suflScient military instruction to 
enter the ranks, and when they are required will have ready a 
reserve already instructed. It Mill ofTer to all those intended 
for a civil career, or who have furnished the proofs of havino- 
acquired military instruction by useful labour, the means of pursu- 
ing important studies without liberating them from their debt 
to the country. 

These are the results which we hope the law we submit to you 
will produce. The idea which has continually directed us, you are 
aware, is the state of the country. 

Doubtless, when you look at the map of Europe; when you think 
of the dangers to which we are exposed, we must, notwithstandino- 
our misfortunes, strive to prevent the disturbance of a certain equi- 
librium too much to our detriment; this we must seek by the con- 
stitution of our military force, and strive to put the country in a 
state to resist invasion. It will not be free otherwise ; to attain 
this object what we have suggested appears sufficient. 

Gentlemen, in any case there is no other means to resist the 
evil which threatens us, the breaking up of the elements which 
compose our society. 



There is no other means to animate every heart with patriotism 
to inspire ideas of disciphne and feelings of devotion in every mind ; 
lastly, to tighten the bonds which unite all the children of this 
France, now so cruelly tried. 


Chapter I. 


yis projwsed by the Committee. Alterations made by the Assembly. 

Chapter I. 
General Arrangements. 
Article 1. 

Every Frencluran owes personal 
military service to his country. 

Article 2. 

In the French Army there is 
neither bounty in money nor any 
payment for engagement. 

Article 3. 

All Frenchmen not declared unfit 
for all military service, may be called 
on from 20 to 40 years of age, to 
form a portion of the regular army 
or its reserves, as laid down by thi? 

Article 4. 

Substitution is suppressed. Dis- 
pensations from service as laid down 
in the law do not give a complete 
1 iberation. 

Article 5. 

Men with the colours are not 
allowed to vote. 

Article 6. 

All bodies of men organinized and 
under arms are x;nder military law, 
form a portion of the army, and 
report either to the Minister of War 
or to the Minister of Marine. 


As proposed hj the Committee. Alterations made by the Assembly. 

Article 7. 

No one is admitted into the French 
Army wlio is not a Frenchman. 

The following are excluded from 
military ser^dce, and have no I'ight 
to serve in the army. 

1. Those who have been con- 
demned to corporal or degrading 

2. Those who have been con- 
demned to two years' imprison- 
ment, and have in addition been 
placed by the court under the 
surveillance of the chief police, 
and interdicted in whole or in 
part from the exercise of civil 
municipal or family rights. 

Chapter II. 


First Section. 

Enumeration and Drawing Lot?. 

Article 8. 

Every year a table showing the 
number of young men having com- 
pleted 20 years of age during the 
preceding year, and domiciled in the 
canton will be drawn up by the 
Maires : — 

1. Upon the declarations that the 
young men, their parents, or 
guardians, are bound to make. 

2. Upon the registers of the civil 
departments of the State, and 
other documents and informa- 

These tables will show in a column 
of remai'ks the profession of each 
young man whose name appears 

These tables are published and 
placarded in each township according 
to the forms prescribed in Articles 
63 and 64 of the Civil Code. 

The last publication must be not 
later than the 1 5th January. 

A public notice on the same form 
indicates the place and day where 
the aforesaid table will be examined. 

F .v; 


As proposed hy the Coimnittee. Alterations mach hy the Assemhly. 

and by means of the ballot a number 
will be assigned to each young man 
whose name is therein entered. 

Article 9, 

Individuals born in France whoso Individuals horn in France whose 
] mrcnt3 arc forcigncra and who arc parents are foreigners, arid thosehorn 
admitted to the benefit of Article 9 abroad, or of foreigners naturalized 
of the Civil Code, will in the cantona m France, and those icho may not 
where they arc donaioilcd draw lota le of age ichen their pareiits are 
a I Ihc ballot next following the dc- naturalized, will draw lots at the 
elaration they have in accordance lallot fulloioing the declaration made 
with the aforcgaid article made. hy them in accordance ivith Article 9 

Indi\dduals declared Erenchmen qf the Civil Code, and Article 2 of 
in virtue of the 1st Ai-ticle of the ike law of the 1th February, 1851. 
law of the 7th February 1851, will 
similarly draw lots in the canton 
where they are domiciled, at the 
ballot following their coming of age, 
if meantime they have not under 
the law just quoted claimed their 
rights as foreigners. 

Both are only subject to the obli- 
gations of military service of the 
class to which from their age they 

Article 10. 

The following are held to be 
legally domiciled in the canton : — 

1. Young men although emanci- 
pated, employed, or living else- 
where, expatriated, absent, or in 
a state of imprisonment, if their 
father, mother, or guardian, has 
their domicile in one of the 
townships of the canton, or if 
their father expatriated had his 
domicile in one of the said 

2. Young men married, whose 
father, or failing the father, 
whose mother is domiciled in 
the canton, unless they show 
that their true domicile is in 
some other canton. 

3. Young men married and domi-, 
ciled in the canton even if their 
father and mother are not domi- 
ciled there. 

4. Young men born and living in 
the canton, who have neither 
father, mother, nor guardian. 


As proposed ly the Committee. Alterations much hy the Assemhhj. 

5. All young men living in the 
canton not included in the above 
classes, and who give no proof 
that they are inscribed in 
another canton. 

Article 11. 

The following are considered as 
being of the proper age, by public 
consent : all young men who cannot 
and do not produce before the ballot 
an extract from the registers of the 
Civil State, proving them to be of a 
different age, or who failing the 
registers cannot, or have not proved 
their ages in accordance with Article 
46 of the Civil Code. 

Article 12. 

If in the tables <jf enumeration, or 
in the ballot of previous years, yoi;ng 
men have been left out, they are to 
be entered on the table of enumera- 
tion of the class which is enrolled 
after the discovery of the omission, 
provided they have not completed 
30 years of age, when the table is 
closed. After that age they are in- 
cluded with the class to which they 
properly belong. 

Article 13. 

When there are several townships 
in the canton the examination of the 
table of enumeration and the drawing 
of lots is to take place at the chief 
town of the canton in public, in pre- 
sence of the Svib-Prefect, assistecl by 
the Maires of the canton. 

In those townships which form 
one or several cantons the Sub-Pre- 
fect is helped by the Maire and his 

The table is read aloud. The 
young men, their parents, or those 
having cause to speak are heard. 
The Sub-Prefect decides a Iter having 
taken the advice of the Maires. 
The table is then corrected, if requi- 
site, and finally determined on and 

Where the canton is composed of 


As proposed hy the Committee. 

several communes the order in wliicli 
they are called is determined by lot. 

Article 14. 

The Sub-Prefect will write at the 
top the names of the young men 
who come under i\rticle 60 of this 

The first numbers will be given to 
them as a matter of right. 

These numbers are in consequence 
taken oiit of the urn before the 
drawing begins. 

Alterations made hy the Assembly. 

Article 15. 

Before drawing lots the Sub-Pre- 
fect will publicly count the numbers 
and place them in an urn after having 
ascertained that the numbers corres- 
pond with the young men who are 
to draw lots ; he will then state that 
he has done so. Each young man 
will be called as his name stands on 
the list and will draw a number from 
the urn, which will be read aloud 
and entered opposite his name. 

The relations of those that arc 
not present, or failing them, the 
Maire of the township will draw for 

Once the lots are drawn no altera- 
tions can be made ; on no pretext 

can it be recommenced, and each man 

will keep the numbei he has drawn 

or that has been drawn for him. 

A. list following the order of num- 
bers is prepared as the numbers are will he at once entered on the list pro- 

drawn, and opposite the names will vided with supplementary numbers, 

be entered the causes of exemption and draio lots to determine their 

or dispensation that the young men, places on the recruiting list. 

their relations, or the Maire of the 

townships propose to bring before 

the Coimcil of Revision, referred to 

in Article 28. 

The Sub-Prefect adds aoy remai'ks 

aie may think fit. 

The li*t is then read, approved, and 

signed in the same way as the table 

of enumeration, and attached to that 

table ; is publiahed and posted up in 

each township in the canton. 

Insert here — 

Young men tcho may he left out., 


As proposed hy the Committee. Alterations made hy the Assembli/. 

Second Section. 

Exemptions, Dispensations^ and 

Article 16. 

Young men whose infirmity makes 
them unfitted for all active or aux- 
iliary service in the army ai'e ex- 
empted from military service. 

Article 17. 

The services of the following with 
the regular army are dispensed 
with : — 

1. The eldest of a family having 
lost both father and mothei*. 

2. The only son, or the eldest son, or 
failing the son or the son-in-law, 
the only grandson, or the eldest 
grandson of a woman actually a 
widow, or of a blind father who 
is in his 70th year. 

In the cases referred to in the 
previous paragraphs the younger 
brother will enjoy the same pri- 
vileges if his elder brother is 
blind or afflicted with any in- 
firmity which is incurable and 
makes him impotent. 

3. The eldest of two brothers who 
draw lots at the same time if 
the younger is fit for service. 

4. He who has a brother in the 
regular army. 

•5. The brother of any man killed 
on active service, or who has 
been discharged or given a pen- 
sion for injuries received in the 
execution of his duty, or on 
account of ill health acquired 
either in the army or navy. 

The dispensations granted by 
paragraphs 5 and 6 will be applicable 
to only one brother for one case, but 
they may be granted to the same 
family as often as the same circum- 
stances recur. 

The young man who neglects to 
come forward, either by himself or 
his reprpsontative, at the drawing of 

Insert — 

Or a icoman whose husband has 
been declared legally absent. 


As projjosed hi/ the Committee. Alterations made hi] the Assemhly, 

the lots of the class to which he 
belongs cannot claim a dispensation 
as pointed out by the present article 
unless the causes of dispensation 
occur after the closing of the lists. 

The causes of these dispensations 
ought, in order that the dispensa- 
tion may be allowed, exist the day 
the Council of Revision is called on 
to decide. 

Those which occur between the 
decision of the Council of Revision 
and the 1st July, the day from 
which the service of each class dates, 
do not alter the legal position of the 
young men composing the class. 

Nevertheless, the recruit who, 
after the decision of the Council of 
Revision, either on the 1st July 
becomes the eldest of a family with- 
out father or mother, the only or the 
eldest son failing, the son, the son- 
in-law, the only grandson or the Insert 

eldest grandson of a widow, or a o,. ^ ,^omr»?. ivhose husband has 
blmd father may, if he demands it i^^n legally declared absent. 
alter one year s service in the ranks, 
be sent home and kept at the dis- 
position of the militaiy authorities 
antil the period of his service be 

Article 18. 

Young men who, when the Coun- 
cil of Revision meets, have not the 
requisite height of 5 feet Oi inch 
or are thought too weak for duty 
under arms may be sent home for 
two years, at the end of which time 
they must be again examined. 

The young men, unless specially 
authorized, are bound to appear 
before the Council of Revision of the 
Canton which has sent them back. 

After the final examination, they 
ai-e classed, and those of these young 
men Avho are considered fit for ser- 
vice, either in the Army or in some 
auxiliary branch of the Army, must 
then fulfil the obligations of the' 
class to which they belong. 

Article 19- 

The fol lowing arc conditionally dis - 
p e nsed from military service ; 


As jJJ'oposed by the Committee. 

1. Tho pupil s o f the Ecole P0I3- - 
t ooliDiqu o , th o Ecole called des 
Jovuies d e - Langue ^. , the Ecole des 
C hart i — - -- 

t4 . 

^l artly in those s c 
partly in th o public s e r-yiee. 
2v^ Tho m e mb e r s — o f the public 
educational cs tablishm o nt s , th e 

who e nga ge to B p e n 
i n t e aching, and h a ve be e n ac 
? il of the 

fixed for dra^ s dng -let&i- 

il — Jr UGtitution s -4&¥ — the- 

Dcaf and Dumb. 

1. Tho members and th o novi ces 

o f the r e ligious as G ociationB who 

dev o t e — themsolve a — to — t eao h - 

l aw ; also tho o c that aro aoknow - 
I cdged to bo of public advan 

5^— ¥- oung men who being plac e d 
i n the cii-cum s tancos foi'c s oon 

o f the 15 t h March, 1850, an d- 

o f the 10th April, - 1867, may 
c ontract r jimilnr engagement s . 
6 . EcclcoiaDticnl pupilo - 
f or thiri pui'poac by - 

A v n-t K 1->T c'It j-^1 . L-i ^-.i* t-? T r» l-t y-v i-vr< Q ft rJ 

XXlO — y" OXiIlcf" ~ I Hdl nil tXlUl i^iJvl brT 

t hemselves te- thc Ministry in 
a ny of the worships paid by 
the — State. ^J^n d e r the con - 
dition — th€tt - they aro — bo und 
t o p e rform their militar y 
vice, if the y— eease - 
t hese profeooion a and have not 
e nt e red holy — ofdera — of- been- 
c on s ecrated before they arc 26 
y ear s of ago. 

Alterations made by the Assembly. 

The pupils of the Ecole Poly tech- 
nique and the Ecole Forestiere are 
considered as serving under the 
colours tchile at those schools. 

The laiv on Army Organization 
referred to in Article 45 of the Lata 
will determine hoiv the young men 
ivho j}ass out of these schools and do 
not enter the A) my or JSavy, shall 
be employed, tch ether in " ivaiting," 
or in the Reserve, or in the Territorial 
Army, or in the Auxiliary Services. 
The pupils at both these schools who 
do not pass tlie fined examination, 
shall follow the lot of the class they 
by age belong to, the time spent at 
these schools being deducted from, 
the total service required by Article 
36 0/ this Law. 

Article 20. 

M e mb e r s of the public in s truction 
a n d th e ■ y ouitg ni c u — who. without 


As proposed by the Committee. 

]) eloDgiQ g ^k>- 4 li e religiou s as soci ar 
tioas- mentiouod in para g raph 4 of 
the— j^reoeding articlo, - 
com e und e r the oaso s-f)¥< 

March, 1850, or by - tJ i e A rti c le 18 of 
tb€J[iaw-of^t ^ o IQth March, 1867, 

ment to d e vot e t he m s elve s for 10 
i st i'uction ar c hound to n ass 

milita r y s c hoo l s el e ct e d b y~t 
st#r- for "War, 


Alteratiims made by the Assembly, 

Conditional Dispensations from 
Military Service are granted to — 

1. Members of the Public Educa- 
tional Establishments, jxijiils of 
the Higher Normal School of 
Paris who have engaged to devote 
themselves to education for 10 
years, and who have been accepted 
by the Pector of the Academy 
before the ballot, and who fulfil 
the engagement. 

2. Professors in the National Insti- 
tutions fur Deaf and Dumb and 
Blind, under the same conditions 
as the former class. 

3. Artists tcho have carried ojf the 
great prizes of the Institutes, on 
condition that they fulfil all their 
duties to the State and spend at 
the School at Rome the p)roper 
number of years. 

4. Pupils of the School of Oriental 
Languages, and pupils of the 
School of Maps, provided they 
agree to spend 10 years in these 
schools or in the Public Service. 

5. Members and novices of the reli- 
gious societies devotfid to education, 
authorized by the luw,or acknow- 
ledged to be of public utility , the 
directors, masters, or assistants 
of lay schools ivhich fulfil these 
same conditions, provided, both 
have, prior to the ballot, made an 
agreement before the Rector of the 
Acadetny to teach for 10 years 
and fulfil that engagement. 

Ck Young men who are not embraced 
in the above classes, but irho are 
in the situations provided for by 
Article 79 of the law of the loth 
March, 1850, and Ai tide 18 of 
the law of the lOth Ajml, 1867, 
and have, prior to the ballot, 
formed the same engagement be- 
fore the Rector. 

The engagement to teach for 10 
years must be fulfilled by the 
tutors and assistant tutors, both 
in the Public Schools as well as 
the Free Schools named by the 
Minister of Public Education, in 
accordance n-ith the adi ice r>f the 
Departmental Council. 


As proposed hy the Committee. Alterations made by the Assembly. 

7. Piij)ils selected by the Arch- 
bishojys or Bishops, and young 
men authorized to continue their 
studies., to devote themselves to be 
Ministers oj any worship paid by 
the State, provided that they com- 
plete their Military Service if they 
drop the studies for u'hich they 
have received a dispe)isation, or if 
at 26 years of age, the frst have 
not entered Holy Orders and the 
latter been consecrated. 

Article 21. 

^i.\) I J t^illj* \}\J Uxxt? OCX 

J Army or Navy v by 

)7 and tlio young sailors 

m v al con F jori] >tio n, in 
conformity with the rule s laid down 
by Articlc r i 1, 3 ,-gj-4y-# , of th o Law 
of th e S f d Brama ire- Year — t V, as 
wel l as the y oung men named by 
Art ic l e \^. wh o coano to b o in -the 
po s ition laid -d own by tho af oresaid 
artielej — bofoi-c aocompli s hing — the 
eoiiditiefts — impoaed — on — theea — are 
boun dj — l at. To - makc -a-4ee lar a ti o n - 
o f t l^e — ciyettfftstftrn oe B boforo th e 
Mai re of ^:he~ town s hi p-in th o y ear 

ciluCrCu^ — t^y~ ' traG C©S S ft' V lOH 0± Xr&G±i 
girt"" '*'*•'* ^-^ i4 n-j-T T iw ft'fii fi xT Q Ttri "^Ck i"0 \tc\ 

a \vay -ar-eepy -ef-4beir-declarat-ion . 

2nd. To serve in the Army the 
time laid down by this law, and to 
foi'm a portion of the reserve as laid 
down for the class to which they 

Failing to make such a declaration 
and submit it to the inspection of the 
Prefect of the department within 
one month, they will be liable to be 
punished in accordance with Article 
60 of this Law. 

They join the first class, entering 
the ranks on the 1st July following 
the date when their duty, service, or 
study ceased. 

The time that elapses between 
such cessation and the date of their 
declaration is not to count in the 
service required by this law. 

It is to be understood that the 

Young men belonging to the Army 
or Navy, either by a Warrant or 
C'ommissioti, and ivho quit the 
Service ; young sailors xohose names 
are borne on the register of the naval 
conscription in conformity icith the 
rules laid doicn in Articles 1, 2, 3, 
4, 5 of the law 25th October, 1795 
{3rd Bruniaire Year IV), and who 
erase their names from the lists; 
young men described in Article 
19, tvho cease to be in the position 
therein described before completing 
the conditions imposed on them are 
bound — 

1*^. To make a declaration to 
that effect before the Maire of the 
Commune icithin two months, and 
take away a copy of that declaration. 


As proposed by the Committee. 

number of years that any French- 
man passes in the service of the 
State either in the naval consci'iption, 
by young men attached to the Army 
or Navy in virtue of a voluntary 
engag e ment or commission, is to be 
always deducted from the number of 
years they should spend in the 

Article 22. 

Young men selected by the Muni- 
cipal Councils of the Commune 
where they are domiciled may 
receive provisional dispensations, if 
they are bond fide supporters of 

The names of these young men 
are presented to the Council of Re- 
vision by the Maire. 

Dispensations may be granted by 
departments to the extent of 4 per 
cent, of the number of yoimg men 
reported as fit for the service, and 
included in the first portion of the 
canton lists. 

Every year the Maire of each 
Commune will repox't to the Council 
of Revision the situation of the 
young men who have obtained dis- 
l^ensations during previous years as 
supporters of families. 

Alterations made hy the Assem,hh/. 

Omit ' voluntarij enr/agement^ in- 
sert ' Warrant.' 

Article 23. 

In time of peace overslaughs may 
be given to young men who, prior 
to the drawing of the lots, have 
asked for them from the Munic ipal 
CouRcil of the Commun e wli e ro - they 

In order that these overslaughs 
may be granted, the young men 
must prove that either on account of 
their being apprentices, or on ac- 
count of their engagement in agri- 
culture, industry, or commerce, on 
their own, or their parents, account, 
such overslaughs are I'eally indis- 

Omit ''from the'' to ' domiciled.' 

These overslaughs give no right 
to exemption or dispensation. They 
are granted for one year, and may 
he reneioed for a second year. 

A young man who gets an over- 
slaugh must keep the number he has 
drawn and must fulfil all the obli- 
gufions imposed on him hy that 


As proposed It/ the Committee. Alterations made hy the Assemhlij. 

Article 24. 

Tliese demands for overslaughs are 
sent to the Maire of each Commune; icho expresses his opinion. 
the Municipal Council gives its 
opinion ; they are forwarded to the 
Council of Revision, and sent in 
duplicate to the Sub- Prefect, who, 
having added his observations, sends 
them to the Prefect, with all the 
requisite documents. Overslaughs 
to the extent of 4 per cent, of each 
class may be granted to the whole 
depar-tment, the percentage to be 
calculated on the number of young 
men fit for service in the class and 
included in the first portion of the 
cantonal recruiting lists. 

Article 2&7 

'^ be renewed 
t wice afterwards ; after whi c h the - 
young man must fulfil the obligation s - 
p ass at least one year in the regular 
a rmy. 

Article 2 0. Article 25. 

Young men who receive dispen- 
sations from serving in the regular 
army according to Article 17 of this 
Law, young men dispensed with as 
being supporters of families, as well 
as the young men to whom over- 
slaughs are granted, may, by an 
order of the Minister, undergo 
certain drills. 

When causes for dispensations or 
overslaughs cease, they are then 
treated as the remainder of the 
class to which they belong. 

A rticle 37. Article 26. 

Young men whose services with 
the regular army in accordance with 
Article 17, young men dispensed 
with as being supporters of families, 
as well as those who have obtained 
overslaughs, may in case of war be 
called on as other men of their class. 

The military authorities dispose 


As proposed bij the Committee. Alterations made by the Assembly. 

of them then according to tlie re- 
quirements of the different ai'ms. 

They may, however, be — e xc e p - 
tionally left in the atatc - in which 
priof dcciaiona placed them. 

Third Section. 

Councils of Revisions and Lists oj 
Cantonal Recruiting. 

Article 27. 

The operations of recruiting is 
reviewed ; the appeals to which these 
operations give rise are heard ; the 
causes of exemption and dispensation 
provided for by Articles 16, 17, and 
20 of this Law, are decided in public 
by a Revising Council composed 


The Prefect, or failing the Prefect, 
the General Secretary or Coun- 
cillor of the Prefectui-e, delegated 
for that purpose by the Prefect. 

A Councillor of thePrefectare, named 
by the Prefect ; and a member of 
the General Council of the depart- 
ment other than the representa- 
tive elected in the canton where the 
revision takes place : both named 
by the Permanent Council-General 
in accordance with Article 82 of 
the Law of the 10th August, 1871. 

A General or Field Officer named by 
the military authorities. 

A Member of the Intendance. the 
Commandant of the Recruiting 
Depot, a Military Surgeon, or 
failing him, a Civil Surgeon 
selected by the military authori- 
ties, will also assist at the opera- 
tion of the Council of Revision. 

The Member of the Intendance is 
heard on behalf of the law when he 
asks, and can enter his observations 
on the register of the deliberation?. 

The Council of Revision moves 
from one canton to another, but if 
locally convenient the Pi'efect may 
exceptionally unite in the same 
place several cantons for the opera- 
tions of the Council. 


As proposed htj the Committee. 

The Sub-Pi-efect or the functionary 
by -whom he would be replaced is 
present at the meetings of the 
Council of Revision heid in his 
arroudissement. He gives his 

The Maii'es of the Communes to 
■which the young men called before 
the Council are present at the meet- 
ings and may be heard. 

Article 28. 

The young: men whose names are 
borne on the censiis table are sum- 
moned, examined, and heai-d by the 
Council of Eevision. They may then 
state the arm in which they wish to 

If they are absent or unrepresented, 
or have obtained no delay, their case 
is dealt with as if they were present. 

In case of exemption for infirmity 
e xporta nro oonoultoJi 

The cases of claims for dispensa- 
tions are judged on the production 
of authoritative documents, or fail- 
ing such, documents on certificates 
signed by those fathers of families 
domiciled in the same canton whose 
sons have been enrolled. 

These certificates must also be 
signed and approved by the Maire 
oi the Commune of the complainant. 

Article 29. 

"When the young men whose 
names are borne on the census tables 
have made appeals, the admission or 
rejection o? which depends on the 
decision of judicial questions relative 
to their state and thek civil rights, 
the Council of Eevision adjourns its 
decision, or only gives a conditional 

The questions are judged in 
concert with the Prefect, at the 
request of those who are most anxious ; 
the tribunals decide without delay 
and the Minister is informed of it. 

Article 30. 

Except in the cases referred to by 
the previous Article the decisions 
of the Council of Revision are defi- 

Alterations made by the Assemhly. 


If on account of absence the 
Council of Revision consists of only 
four members, it may deliberate, 
but the President has no casting 
vote. A decision must be given by 
their votes, if they are divided the 
Council must adjourn. 

the Council only decides after 
hearing the Surgeon who assists 

Brothers may exchange numbers. 


Asjiroposed hy the Committee. Alterations made hy tie Assembly. 

nite ; they may however be im- 
pugned before the Council of State 
for incompetence or exceeding their 

They may also be impugned by 
the Minister of War and in the 
interest of the law ; nevertheless the 
persons affected will profit by their 
being annulled. 

Article 31. 

After the Council of Revision has 
decided on the cases for exemption 
and dispensations, as well as upon 
all the consequent appeals, the can- 
tonal recruiting list is definitely 
signed and completed by the Council 
of Revision. 

This list is divided into five parts, 
viz. : — 

1. In the order of the numbers 
drawn all the young men de- 
clared fit for military service 
and who are not classed in the 
following categories. 

2. All the young men dispensed 
with under Article 17 of this 

3. All the young men provisionally 
dispensed with in virtue of 
Article 20, as well as the young 
men connected with the army 
by a voluntary engagement, a 
warrant or a commission, and 
the enrolled young sailors. 

4. Young men who on account of 
their want of height have re- 
ceived dispensations for service 
in the regular army, but who 
are fit for duty with the aux- 
iliary branches of the army. 

5. Lastly, young men who have 
been sent back to be a second 
time brought before the Council 
of Revision. 

Article 32. 
When the recruiting lists of a,ll 
the cantons of the department have 
been completed in conformity with 
the regulations of the preceding 
Article, the Council of Revision, to 
which is added two members of the 
General Council, nominated by the 


As proposrd by the Committee. Alterations made hy the Asse?nhly. 

Permanent Committee, will assemble 
at the chief town of the department 
and pronounce on the applications 
for dispensations on the grounds 
that the men are supporters of 
families, and upon the demands for 

Fourth Section. 
Registration Lists. 

Article 33. 

A registry is kept in eacli depart- 
ment, or in the divisions of each de- 
partment, in virtue of an order of 
the public administration. 

This registry is drawn up by 
means of the lists just referred to 
(Article 31), and on it will be borne 
the names of all the young men not 
unfit for any military service, or 
who have not been sent back for 
a new examination by the Council 
of Revision. 

This register will have entered on 
it the date of the incorporation of 
each recruit, or the position in which 
he is left, and also in succession all 
the changes which take place in his 
state until he enters the territorial 

Article 34. 

Every man entered on the register 
who changes his domicile is bound 
to give notice to the Maire of the 
Commime that he leaves and the 
Maire of the place he goes to. 

The Maire of each of these Com- 
munes transmits within eight days 
a copy of the said declaration to the 
registry office of the district in which 
the commune is situated. 

Article 35. 

Every man entered on the register 
who wrshes to reside in a foreign 
country is bound in his declaration 
to the Maire of the Commune where 
he lives to make known the place he 
is going to, and so soon as he arrives 
to inform the consular agent of 


As proposed by the Committee. 

The Maire of the Commune within 
8 clays sends a copy of this declara- 
tion to the registry office of the 
district in which the commune is 

The consular agent within 8 days 
sends a copy of this declai'ation to 
the Minister of War. 

Alterations made hj tlie Assembly. 

Chapter III. 

Military Service. 

Article 36. 

Every Frenchman not declared 
unfit for all military service will 
serve in the regular army for 5 
years, in the reserve of the regular 
army for 4 years ; in the territorial 
army for 5 years, in the reserve of 
the terrihorial army for 6 years. 

1. The regular army is composed, 
in addition to the men who are 
not recruited by enrolment, of 
all the young men declared fit 
for one of the services of the 
array and included in the five 
last classes enrolled. 

2. The reserve of the regular army 
is composed of all the men 
declared fit for any of the 
services -of the army, and em- 
braced in the four classes 
eni-olled immediately before 
those serving in the regular 

3. The tei-ritorial army is com- 
posed of all the men who have 
completed the period of service 
prescribed for the regular army 
and the reserve. 

4. The reserve of the territorial 
army is compoeed of all the men 
who have completed the period 
of service for this army. 

The territorial army and the 
second reserve are formed by districts 
fixed by a decree of the pviblic 

They embrace for each region the 
men detailed ia paragraphs 3 and 4 
who are domiciled in the remon, 

Insert last. 


As proposed hij the Committee. 

Article 37. 

The navy and tlie corps of marines 
are composed in addition to the men 
furnished by the maritime inscrip- 
tion : — 

1. Of the men engaged vokmtarily 
or re-engaged on conditions 
fixed by an order of the public 

2. Of young men who when the 
Council of Revision sits, shall 
apply foi- service in the navy or 
in one of its corps, and shall 1)6 
accepted as fit for the duty, 

3. Lastly, and failing the number 
of men included in the previous 
categories being sufficient, of 
the portion of the contingent 
detailed by the Minister of War 
for the nav y or i t s corps . 

luis conting'eiit is ttrawn tn each 

by the want ?*- of the s ervice -. 

Exchang e -befo re incorpoi frt i on i s 
Jiuxnorisod Detween tnc v^nnii^ m^^n 

- army anti-mt^. 

For men who -do-net-hekm g to th e 

rc a oi'vc. 

These men then - - pass into — the 

Article 38. 

Length of service counts from the 
the 1st July of the year when lots 
are drawn. 

Each year, on the 30th of June, in 
peace time, soldiers who have com- 
pleted their period of service in the 
reserve of the regular army, those 
who have completed the period of 
service pi'eseribcd for the territorial 
army, lastly those who have com- 
pleted the period of service for the 
reserve of this army, receive a cer- 
tificate which states — 

For the first, tluir transfer info the 
first reserve. 

Alterations made hij the Assemhhj. 

The contingent furnished hij each 
canton in the j^roportion fixed by 
that decision is composed of the 
young men included in the first por- 
tion of the Canton Recruiting List 
and who have drawn the first num- 

A decision of the Administration 
will fx the conditions xindcr ichich 
exchanges between the young men 
detailed for the Army and Navy 
may be made. 

For men who do not belong to the 
Naval conscription tlie period of 
service in the Navy is five years, in 
the Reserve 2 years. 

After irhicJi the men pass into 
the territorial army. 

G 2 


yls proposed b]) the Committee Altera tluna made hy the Asstmbly. 

Yov the second, their transfer into 
the territorial army. 

For the third, their transfer into 
the second reserve ; at the expiration 
of their time of service in ihis re- 
serve the men receive their final 

In war time they will receive their The last paragraph is applicable 
discharge so soon as the men of the at all times to men composing the 
class who rej)lace them shall arrive, crews of ships in commission. 

Article 39. 

All the young men of the class 
enrolled who are not exempted on 
accomit of infirmities, or are not 
dispensed with under the provisions 
of this law, or who do not obtain 
overslaughs, or are not detailed for 
the na^'y, form a portion of the re- 
gidar army, and are placed at the 
cii.^-position of the Minister for War. 

These young soldiers are all en- 
rolled in the various corps of the 
army, and sent to the various corps 
or to battalions and schools of in- 

Article 40. 

After one year of service, young 
soldiers in the conditions previously 
sjiecified are no longer kept with the 
colours, the number retained being 
that fixed each year by the Minister 
for War. 

They are taken in the order of the 
numbers drawn upon the first por- 
tion of the recruiting list of each 
canton, and in the proportion fixed 
by the ministerial decision ; this 
decision is given as soon as possible 
after the completion of the recruit- 
ing operations. 

Article 41. 

Notwithstanding the regulations of 
the previous article, the soldier, 
although included in the category 
of those who are only to remain one' 
year with the colours, but who does 
not know how to read or write, and 
docs not pass the examinations re- 
quired by the Minister for War, may 
be kept for a second year with his 

The soldier placed in the same 


As proposed by the Committee. Alterations made h>j the Assemhlij. 

category, who, by instruction ac- 
quired pieviously to his entry into 
the service, fulfils all the required 
couditions, may after six months at 
the periods fixed by the War Minif^ter 
and before the expii"ation of the year, 
be sent home on fui lough in accor- 
dance with the following article. 

Article 42. 

Young men who having served tlie 
period of service prescribed in Arti- 
cles 40 and 41 are not kept with the 
colours, remain at the disposal of the 
regulai' army, and may be sent on 
furlough until recalled by the War 

They may, by order of the Minis- 
ter, take part in reviews and drills. 

Article 43. 

Men sent into the reserve of the 
regular army remain registered as 
prescribed by the law on oi'ganiza- 

The recall of the reserve of the 
regular army may take place in a 
distinct and independent manner, 
both for the army and navy ; it may 
be made by clas>es, beginning with 
the yoimgest. 

The men of the reserve of the 
regular army are liable to take part 
in two manoeuvres during their re- 
serve service. 

The length of tlnse manccuvres 
must not exceed four weeks. 

Article 44. 

Men at the disposal of the regular 
array and reserve men may mnrry 
without leave. 

But married men are liable to all 
the duties exacted from the classes 
to which they belong. 

But men at the disposition of the 
regular army who are the fathers of 
four living children ])ass by right 
into the territorial army. 

Article 4.5. 

Special laws will determine the 
basis of the organization of the 
regular army, the territorial army, 
and their reserves. 


As proposed hy the Committee. Alterations imcde hy the Aasc'inbly. 

Chapxer IV. 

Oa engagements, Re-enga(jem,ents, 
and Conditional Emjagcm^cnts for 
one year. 

First Section. 


Article 46. 

Every Frenchman may voluntarily 
engage on the following conditions : 
The Volunteer must — 

1 . If he engages to serve in the 
navy be 16 years' old, in which 
case he need not be of the 
height prescribed by the law. 
But if he is 18 yt>ars of age, he 
must be of the required height. 

2. If he engages in the army, he 
must be 5 feet 0^ inch in 
height, and be 18 years of age. 

3. He must know how to read and 

4. Must be possessed of civil 

5. Neither married nor a widower 
with children. 

6. Must have a certificate of good 
conduct from the Maire of the 
Commune he last lived in, and 
if he has not resided a year in 
that commune he must have a 
certificate from the Maire of tl>e 
Commune he previously lived 

The certificate must contain a des- 
cription of the young man who 
wishes to engage, and a statement of 
the time he has lived in the com- 
mune, and must state that he is in 
the enjoyniCDt of civil rights. That 
he has never been punished for theft, 
roguer) , deception, or offences 
against morals. 

If the volunteer is less than 20 
years of age he must obtain the 
approval of his father, mother, or 

This last may be given by the 
authority of a family counsel. 

The requisite conditions as regards 
militarv fitness for the different 


As proposed hj the Committee. Alterations made by the Assembly. 

branches of the army, are fixed by 
a decree inserted in the " Bulletin 
" des Lois." 

Article 47. 

The length of engagement is for 
five years. 

This period of service counts in 
the length of military service fixed 
by Article 36. 

In case of war all Frenchmen 
who have finished the period of ser- 
vice prescribed for the regular army 
and its reserve, ai'e allowed to engage 
in the regular army for the duration 
of the war. 

This engagement does not give 
dispens'vtions as provided in para- 
graphs 4 and 5 of the Article 17 of 
the present law. 

Article 48. 

Men who after fulfilHng the con- 
ditions of Articles 40 and 41 of this 
Law, are about to be sent on fiu'lough, 
may be allowed to remain in the 
army so as to complete five years' 

Men sent on furlough may ako be 
allowed to complete five years' serA-ice 
in the ranks. 

Article 49. 

Volunteers allowed to remain in 
the regular army, as well as those in 
waiting, who have been allowed to 
complete five years' service in the 
regular army, cannot be sent on fur- 
lough without their consent. 

Article 50, 

Voluntary engagements are con- 
tracted as prescribed by Articles 34 
to 44 of tlie Civil Coae, before the 
Maires of the chief places in ihe 

The conditions as to length of 
engagement are entered on these 

The other conditions are read to 
the persons forming these engage- 
ments, before signature, and the fact 


As proposed hy the Committee. Alterailuns made by the Assemhly. 

of this having been done is entered 
on the face of the document, other- 
wise it is void. 

Second Section. 

Article 51. 

Men may be allowed to re-engage Two years at least and not ex- 
■s ccodiug tw e^ ceeding five years. 

Re-eugagements can only take 
place during the last year of service 
with the colours. 

They are renewable until 29 years 
of age for corporals and privates, and 
until S2- years of age for sergeants. 35. 

The other conditions are fixed by 
a regulation inserted on the " Bulle- 
tin of Lois." 

Re-engagemeut after 5 years' 
service with the colours gives a right 
to high pay. 

Article 52. 

Engagements referred to in 
Article 48 of this law may be 
formed before the Intendants and 
Sous Intendants, on the form directed 
in Article 51. Upon presenting 
which the engaged or re-engaged 
man may enter or remain in the 
corps for which he engages or re- 

Third Section. 

Conditional Engagements for one 

Article 53. 

Young men who have obtained 
the degree of Bachelors of Letters or 

U nivPl'sitV St ll d ir iP OTl d h tn^r* fn l rm 

honours . - 

Those who belong to the central 
school of industry and commerce, to 
tlie schools of arts and trades, to the 
schools of the fine arts, the musical 
institution, or mav have been 


As proposed by the Committee. 

declared admissible to these schools ; 
pupils of the veterinary schools, the 
schools of agriculture, are allowed 
before the lots are drawn when they 
bring certificates issued by authori- 
ties named in the "Bulletin of Lois," 
and af ter— att—exa^iHtvatJoi^ fi xed by 
the War Mi ni s t e r to form engage- 
ments for one year as provided for in 
the said regulation. 

Alterations made by the Assembly. 

Out pupils of the School of Mines, 
the School of Fonts et Chaussees, 
the School of Naval Engineers, 
pupils of the School of Mines at 
Saint Etienne are allowed 

for one year in the Army. 

Article 54. 

the previ ous a rticl e^-^-numb er t o be 
fix e d ea ^h year by the. Minister ft>r 
AY ^ ar who pas s t he exa m inationfi 
■r equired - m ay ' b e-ad mitted to form 
snch e n c acren ie n t?^. 

In addition to the young men re- 
ferred to ifi the previous Article 
those who pass the examinations re- 
quired in the various programmes 
prepared by the Minister for War 
and approved by decrees of the 
Public Administration, may con- 
froct similar engagements 

These decrees must be inserted in 
the " Btdletin des Lois.'" 

The number of conditional en- 
gagements for a year is fixed each 
year by the Minister for each De- 
partment in proportion to the con- 

Article of). 

The Volunteer for a year is 
clothed, mounted, and fed at Ji is own 
cost. But the War Minister may 
exempt in part, or altogether from 
tins charge, young men wJio, in their 
e.ramination, give proofs of capacity, 
and who sJiow according to pre- 
scribed rules that tJiey have not ths 
means of meeting this cost. 

Article 56. 

own cost. 

He is liable to all duties imposed 
on men in the ranks. 

He must pass the examinations 
fixed by the War IMinister. 

If after a year of service he does 
not pass the examinations he is 
obliged to remain for a second year 
Jis determined hv thi? law. 

'J'hc volunteer for a year is en- 

If after a second year he cannot 
pass the required examiuation he is 
deprived of the advantages reserved 
for a, volunteer for one year, and is 
submitted to the same obligation as 
(he nirn hrloiirjing to the same class. 


As prvposi^d by the Cuininitlte. Alterations inade by the Asaembly. 

In any case if ^var breaks out he 
is kept in the service. 

The time the volunteer for a year 
serves counts in the length of service 
required by Article 3G of this law. 

In case of mobilization the vo- 

irticle bl Itinteer for one year is dealt ivith 

precisely as the class to which he 

During the year which precedes the belongs. 
enrohuent of their class, the J oungmen 
enumerated in Article 53 who bave 
not completed their studies in the 
faculties or schools to which they 
belong, but who wish to complete 
them in a definite period of time, 
may, while contracting an engage- 
ment for one year, obtain by military 
authority an overslaugh to prevent 
their joining the corps to which 
they belong. This overslaugh must 
not extend beyond 23 years of age. 


-jH-44m<?-<»?— w^ay-- all cugagomcnt g 
fe«--a-^ar-are-&Hspe«4ed . 

Article 58. 

After the volunteers for a year 
have passed the examination required 
by law, they may obtain warrants as 
non-commissioned officeis or commis- 
sions equivalent at least thereto. 

Special laws referred to in Aiticie 
46 will determine the employment of 
the young men either in waiting, in 
the reserve of the regular army, or 
in the territorial army in the various 
services to which their studies have 
specially destined tliem. 

Chapter V. 

Icnal Uegulations. 

Article 50. 

Every n\an borne on the register 
who does not make the declarations 
relative to change of domicile, pre- 
scribed by Articles 34 and 35 of this 
law, is retorrtd to the ordir.ary tri- 
bunals, and may be fined from 8s. Ad. 
to 8/. 6s. 8(/. ; he m;iy be also im- 
prisoned from fifteen days to three 
months. In time of war these penal- 
tics are doubled. 


As proposed hy the Committee. Alterations made hi/ the Asscmhhj. 

Article 60. 

Any fraud or trick, causing the 
name of any individual to be omitted 
from the census tables, or the lists 
for the ballot, are to be referred to 
the ordinary tribunals and punished 
by imprisonment for from one month 
to one year. 

The following are referred to the 
same tribunals and liable to the same 
punishment : — 

1. Young men who being enrolled 
shall on account of fraudulent 
collusion fail to appear before 
the Councils for Revision. 

2. Young men who by means of 
fraud or trick cause themselves 
to be exempted by the Councils 
of Revision, the accomplices in 
such crimes are liable to similar 

If young men whose names have 
been left out have been condemned as 
authors or accomplices in frauds or 
tricks the regulations of Article 14 
will refer to them at the first drawing 
of lots which takes place on the 
termination of their punishment. 

Any young man improperly ex- 
empted will be placed on the )ist 
with the first number. 

Article 61. 

Every inau brirne on the register 
to whom an order to march has 
been duly notified, and who does 
not anive at his destination within 
one month of the day fixed by that 
order, is, after the expiration of a 
second month, punished as insub- 
ordinate with imprisonment of from 
one to twelve months in time of 
peace, and two to five years in time 
0^ yar y^^ //,, /^,^^^,,. ^.^^^^ 

At the termination or this punish- 
ment he is to be sent to a discipline 

In time of war the names of in- 
subordinate men are posted in all 
the communes of the canton where 
they live, and remain so posted 
during the war. 


As proposed by the Committee. Alterations made hrj the Assemhly. 

These regulations are also appli- 
cable to all volunteers who, with- 
out legitimate cause, do not reach 
their destination at the period fixed 
by their routes. 

In case of absence from their 
domicile, the order to march is sent 
to the Maire of the Commune where 
the recruit has drawn lots. 

So far as recruits are concerned 
the delay of one month is increased 
to two months if the recruit is 
domiciled in Algiers, in the islands 
or counties near France, or in 
Europe. It is extended to six 
months in all other parts of the 

Insubordinate men are tried by 
Court Martial in the military divi- 
sion where they are arrested. 

The time during which the volun- 
teer or the man borne on the re- 
gister shall have been absent, is not 
to be included in his period of 

Artivle 62. 

Whosoever is guilty uf having 
concealed, or taken into his employ, 
a man guilty of insubordination is 
punishable with imprisomiient not 
exceeding six months ; according to 
circumstance this punishment may 
be commuted into a fine of IGs. 8c/. 
to 8/. Gs. 

Whosoever helps the escape of 
an insubordinate man is liable to an 
imprisonment of one month to one 

Those who by culpable tricks 
prevent the departure of young 
soldiers are liable to the same 

If this ci-ime has been accom- 
])anied by riotous conduct the 
jiunishment will be doubled. 

If the accused is a public func- 
tionai-y employed by the Govern- 
ment or the Minister of any creed 
paid by the State, he may on con- 
viction be imprisoned for two years, 
and in addition be fined a sum not 
exceeding 80/. 


As I'roposed hj the Commitfee. Alterations made hj the Assembly. 

Article 63. 

Any man convicted of tampering 
with his health so as to make him 
unfit, cither temporarily or per- 
manently, for military service with 
the view of evading the provisions 
of this law is sent before the Civil 
Court by the Council of Revision, 
and may be punished with Imprison- 
ment for from one month to one year. 

Those guilty of the same crime 
during the period of closing the 
lists of the canton and joining their 
cor| )S are liable to the same punish- 

On the completion of their punish- 
ment, both are placed at the dis- 
posal of the Minister for War, and 
may be sent to a discipline company. 

Accomplices are also liable to the 
same punishment -in — addition — t© 
fin e s o f 8^. t O' 80/., and-iij-addition 
to-h eavier puni s hment s w hie-h-- may 
-l4e4 nflictod by tho ^eim l code. 

If the accomplices are Doctors, 
Surgeons, Health Officers, or Apo- 
thecaries, the punishment will be 
from two months to two years. 

Article 64. 

The periods spent in prison do 
not count as a portion of the ser- 

In addition to fines of Si. to 80/., 
and in addition to heavier punish- 
ments aicarded bi/ the civil code. 

A I tide 65. 

Any military or civil functionary 
who, under any pretext whatsoever, 
shall authorise or allow exemptions, 
dispensations, or exclusions other 
than those provided for b}^ this law, 
or who arbitrarily shall extend the 
length or relax the rules or condi- 
tions of enrolments, engagements, 
or re-engageuients, shall be guilty 
of an abuse of authority and liable 
to be punished as directed in Arti- 
cle 185 of the Criminal Code, in 
addition to any more severe punish- 
ment directed by the code in other 


As proposed by the Committee. 
Article 66. 

Doctors, Surgeons, Health Offi- 
cers, who are called on by Councils 
of Revision to give their opinion 
conformably with Articles 16, 18, 
20, and shall receive bribes or give 
promises to be favourable to young 
men who they may examine are 
liable to imprisonment for two 
months to two years. 

They are liable to this punishment 
whether the bribes and promises 
may have been given before they 
have been asked to assist the coun- 
cil or whether they have been given 
after they have been so asked. 

They are equally' forbidden to 
receive anything, even for an ex- 
emption or discharge legally pro- 

Alterations made by the Asicmbli/. 

Article 67. 

Punishments provided in Articles 
60-62. 63, for certain acts^ are ap- 
plicable to those ii'ho attempt to com- 
mit them. 

hi the cases referred to in Article 
06, those who offer bribes or promises 
of bribes are punishable in the same 
way as those ivho receive them. 

Article 'o'^. 

In every case not provided for in 
the foregoing articles, the civil and 
military tribunals, within the limit 
of their jurisdiction, shall a|)ply the 
criminal law to such crimes as may 
be committed in carrying out this 

In all cases when imprisonment 
is awarded under this law, the 
judges may, according to circum- 
stances, deal with the case as pres- 
cribed in Article 463 of tlie (.'riminal 

Special Arrangements. 

Article 69. 

Young men enrolled in the army 
under this law shall, in addition to 
the instruction requisite for their 
military duty, receive such other 
instruction as shall be prescribed bv 
the Minister of War. 


As proposed hi/ the Cummittee. Alterations made hy the Assembl/. 

Article 70. 

The Minister of (1'ar a7id of the 
Navy shall i?isure. hy recjiilation, to 
tnen of all arms of the service the 
freedom requisite to attend Divine 
Service on Simday, and any religious 
festivals held sacred hy the creed 
they hold, these reyidations to be in- 
serted in the "^Bulletin dis Lois.' 

Article 71 . 

Every man who lias passed 12 
years under the colours, four at 
least with the rank of Serjeant, 
shall receive a certificate from the 
commanding officer of his corps, 
which confers on him the right to 
receive (in proportion to the vacan- 
cies that occur) some civil or mili- 
tary employment suitable for his 
qualifications and education. 

A special law will enumerate the 
employments in each department of 
of the State which shall be alto- 
gether or in part reserved for can- 
didates with the aforesaid certifi- 

Article 72. 

No one can be admitted before 
30 years of age to a civil or military 
employment who has not fulfilled 
the conditions imposed by this law. 

Temporary Arrangements. 

Article 74. 

The provisions of this law shall 
be applicable to the regular army, 
beginning on the 1st January, 

Nevertheless, the whole class 
enrolled in 1871 shall be put at the 
disposal of the Minister for War, 
and young men not belonging to the 
contingent selected l»v the Minister 

Article 73. 

The War Minister shall, before 
the Z\st March of each xjear, furnish 
a statement to the National As- 
sembly, of the working of the law 
during the previous year. 


As proposed hj the Committee. 

shall be placed iu the reserve of the 
army in place of the National 
Guard Mobile, as provided for by 
the law of the 1st February, 18G8. 

Young men now i-ftelttded-4n-th€ 
National Guard Mobile will alao be 
4fteki4e4-in-4li«H:=e8erve- ef-4h c arm y-. 

formed in oonform ity-with -tiie SOth 

Artiol o of the -Law-ef^the ^Ist 

1- 8 3 2, modified b y the law of 

i^efa'ua ry, 1868 . 

Both will r effiaifl-4rH 4hc ic a crve 

They then will bo transferr e d to 
the territo j -Jal arm y^4n— eeaferBHty 
with Article §7 of thi 8-4ja,w^. 

■ M e n b el onging ^;-o — tfee — cl a s ses 

^tlarrehr-^-B3^% who- ha ve not been 
includ e d in th e conting ^nts^-t rnished 
by th e ii ^-elasseg^ -frnd would have 
■ jj o on inc l ud e d in 4lie Na tional Gua rd 
4fobile— undei^ -the-law - of the 1st 
F o bruary, 1-8^ -are-toHbe borne on 
4be4i&ts-of ihe-yeserve-af the regu- 
4aF -arniy tH> til 29 y ears of a ge , and 
-thenH-^tall^-i^^-conl ormity w ith Arti^ 
-ele ^^ of -%ln& law, be tra nsf e rred t o 

Alterations macJc hy the Asscmhli/ . 

And will remain there a period 
equal to the service performed in the 
regular army and its reserve hy the 
men of the same class included in 
the contijujent, after which both tvill 
he transferred to the territorial army 
in accordance with the arrangements 
of Article 36 of this law. 

Length of service for the class of 
1871 will cvunt from 1st July, 1872, 
in accordance with the regidalions 
of the law of \st February, 1868. 

Young men ivho have come in'o 
the Army beforehand ivill, in ac- 
cordance icith t/ie decree 5th Janu- 
ary, 1871, count their service from 
1st January, 1871. 

Article 75. 

Young men belonging to the 
classes ^of 1867, 1868, 1869, and 
1870, enrolled in virtue of the law 
of the \st February, 1868, and who 
have beeii included in the contingent 
of the Army, will, on the termina- 
tion of their service in the reserve, be 
placed in the territorial army in 
conformity with Article 36 of this 
law. Young men of the same 
classes who have' nut been included 
in the contingent and ivho are noir 
serving in the National Guard 
" Mobile " shall, on the \st January, 
1 873, be placed in the Reserve, where 
they will remain until the discharge 
from the service of the young men 
of the same class, icho have been in- 
cluded in the contingent of the 
Army. They will then, in con- 
formity with Article 36 of the law, 
be placed in the territorial army. 


As j^roposed hij tJie Committee. Alterations made hi/ the Assemhli/. 

Article 76. 

Men of previous classes enrolled 
under the law of the ?)\st March, 
1832, loheiher theij have or have 
not served in the Armrj, icill serve 
in the territorial army and its 
reserve, in accordance ivith the dis- 
jjosition of Article 36 of this lair, 
until they shall have reached tlte aye 
prescribed for discharge from the 
territorial army and its reserve. 

The position of the men will be in 
conformity ivith Article 15 of the 
law of the \st February, 18G8, they 
may be enrolled by classes, beyinning 
with the youngest. 

A Council of Revision in eacJt, 
district, formed in accordance with 
Article 16, law 1st February, 1868, 
will pronounce on claims for exemp- 
tion on account of infirmity or 
tvant of height. 

Article 77. 

Young' men who, in place of be- 
longing to the National Guard 
Mobile, form a portion of the reserve 
in conformity with the preceding 
articles shall be drilled and reviewed 
as determined by the Minister of 

Article 78. 

The obligation to know how to 
read and write requisite to form 
a voluntary engagement, or to be 
sent on furlough after one year's 
service, shall not be imposed until 
after the 1st January, 1875. 

Article 79. 

All the provisions of the laws 
and prior decrees relative to recruit- 
ing the army are and will remain 


The subject of volunteers for one year being of great importance, 
and also one that produced much discussion in the Assembly, the 
Decrees putting Article 54 in force, and which have been published 
in the " Moniteur de I'Armee" for the 6th November, 1872, are 
herewith appended : — 


The President of the French Republic, 

Referring to the law of the 27th July, 1872, upon the recruiting of 
the Army : 

Referring to Article 54 of that law, relative to the examinations which 
3H:)ung men who seek to become volunteers for one year, and who are 
not included amongst those named in Article 53 : 

Upon the recommendation of the Minister for War, with the advice 
of the Council of State, 

Decrees ; 

Art. 1. Young men who desire to form a conditional engagement for 
one year, iinder Clause 54 of the law of the 29th July, 1872, 
must undergo two successive trials before examiners selected 
by the Minister for War, and chosen amongst farmers, arti- 
zans, and men of business, or citizens who have belonged to 
these professions. 

Art. 2. The first trial consists in waiting French from dictation. 

Ai"t. 3. Tlie second tiial is a viva voce public examination. Candidates 
are classed in three sections — agriculturist, artizaus, or busi- 
ness men ; each of these classes goes before a different 

This examination is divided into two portions — 
The first has reference to the subjects on which the candi- 
dates should have been instructed in elementary schools. 

The second portion deals with the candidate's theoretical 
and practical knowledge of the profession he belongs to. 

Art. 4. On the completion of these oral examinations, the examiners in 
the three sections meet under the presidency of the General 
Commanding the Department or a Field Officer named by him, 
to whom is joined a member of the Council-General named by 
the Council or by the Permanent Commission. A committee 
is thus formed which draws up the general list of the suc- 
cessful candidates. 

Art. 5. The Minister of War is charged with carrying out this Decree, 
which will be published in the " Journal Otficiel," and inserted 
in the '' Bulletin des Lois." 

Given at Versailles, 31st October, 1872. 

A. Thiers. 
By the President of the Republic. 
The Minister of War, 



Programme of the professional examinations to which young men who 
seek to form an eugagemeut for one year, under Clause 54, 27th 
July, 1872. Each candidate will be examined according to his pro- 
fession and special acquirements, in accordance with the following 
syllabus : — 


The various kinds of soils, viewed in an agricultural point of view ; 
manures, and method of reclaiming land ; climate and seasons, their 
effect on cultivation ; irrigation ; agricultural implements and tools ; 
systems of cultivation ; preservation of harvests ; cattle and domestic 
animals ; agricultural accounts; markets for the chief agricultural pro- 
duce of the district. 


The iioods forming the special trade of the candidate ; how tfiey are 
produced ; the employment and the outlay requisite to produce them ; 
book-keeping ; names of commercial books ; principal operations of trade 
and banking ; usual forms for a note of hand, a letter of exchange, an 
order or cheque ; meauhig of terms used in trade and banking. 


Nature and properties of the chief materials or metals ; how pro- 
cured or smelted, and their uses; implements, engines, machines, or 
tools that the candidate habitually uses; description of the method 
adopted by the candidate in carrying out his own special trade ; 
description of his trade. 

[H * S.— r 10.V2— f)CO-II I 72] 


Part II. 



By major C. B. BRACKENBURY, R.A., 



Printed under the Superintendence of Her 3IaJesti/'s Stationer!/ Office, 


W. CLOWES & SONS, 13, Charing Cross; HARRISON & SONS, 59, Pall Mall i 

W. H. ALLEN & Co., 13, Waterloo Place ; W. MITCHELL, 39, Charing Cross ; 

LONGMAN & Co., Paternoster Row ; TEUBNER & Co., 57 & 59, Lndgatc Hill ; 

STANFORD, Charing Cross; and H. S. KING & CO., 65, Conihill ; 

Also hy 

GRIFFIN & Co., The Hard, Poetsea ; 

A. & C. BLACK, Edinburgh ; D. ROBERTSON, 90, St. Yincent Street, Glasgow ; 

ALEX. THOM, Abbey Street, and E. PONSONBY, Grafton Street, DuBLrs, 

Price Two Sliilliiigs. 

[Wt. p. 681a. 500—6 | 74— H. & S.— 4170.] 


The following pages should be read in connection with. Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Home's translation of " The French Law of 
Recruiting," of which they are a continuation. 

But there are many persons who may be glad to know 
something of the changes in the French Army, without having 
time or inclination to study the subject in detail. To such, the 
present translator addresses this short introduction, not being 
without hopes, however, that the casual reader may be induced 
to dive deeper, and search among the arguments in favour of 
the great changes now being accomplished in the French 
military service, for those general truths which, among much 
that is only French or ephemeral, stand fast as great principles 
for the guidance of all ci\dlized nations. 

The italics in the translation are those of the original, and 
seem to mark points which the author of the Report wished to 
force on the attention of his hearers. 

Among them are to be found these : — 

" NeitliP}' armies nor Generals can be improvised by a decree 
" and, if education is rapid on tlie field of battle, its cost is far too 
"' dear.'' Page 4. 

" Time is no longer on the side of the defence.^' " Perma- 
" nent preparation then, and rapidity of mobilization stand forth as 
'• the two indispensable conditions of every army organization.^ 
Page 5. 

" We icere beaten by want of preparation, organization, and 
•' direction, and by the iceakness of our effective, rather than by the 
" arms of our enemies" Page 9. 

" Generals are responsible for military operations and for orders 
" to supjjly and distribute ; Commissaries are responsible for the 
" means of supply and for payment and distribution.'' 

" The military organization and constitution of the corps, and 
" various administrative services, shoidd be the same in time of peace 
" as in time of war." Page 64. 

And, with reference to mobihzation : — 

" The Minister transmits the order for mobilization to the 
" Generals commandmg army corps, and concerns himself no 
''^further as he used to do, ivith the details of its execution. All 
" ought to be prepared beforehand by the Commander of an army 
" corps, loho is responsible for the rapid execution of the order.'' 
Page 69. 

France has adopted, as the foundation of her military 
system, the principle that it is the duty of every Frenchman to 
serve his country under arms. 

A 2 


The Law of Recruiting pro^"ides an " annual contingent," 
— that is, a body of young men ehgible in all respects for 
military service, — numloering about 158,000. Of these about 
8,000 are required for the navy. The annual force, therefore, 
at the disposal of the mihtary authorities for the army, amounts 
to about 150,000 men, twenty years old. 

Part of this contingent will consist of " volunteers for one 
year," who are young men of education, prepared to defray a 
considerable portion of their own expenses. They have only to 
serve in the ranks for a period of from six months to a year, 
provided they pass an examination at the end of then- term, 
when tliey receive, as a ride, certificates of qualification as non- 
commissioned officers. Like all others they are liable to be 
called upon at the outbreak of war. 

The young men forming the rest of the contingent, are 
enrolled m coi-ps, without reference to the part of the country 
they have come fi'om, and are all kept with the colours at least 
one year. After one year, some of them are sent home, but 
remain always at the disposal of the Minister of War, who 
keeps many or few in the ranks, according to the varying con- 
ditions of education of the men ; and according to his own 
needs, on the one hand, to provide for the service of the 
country, on the other, to keep within the provisions of the 

But, in any case, the 150,000 men of each coiitingent 
remain five years m the active army, liable to seiwe m the 
ranks at any time and to be called out for peace manoeuvi'es. 

Out of the various accumulating annual contingents together 
with a permanent force, explained in Table 6, Appendix A, is to 
be built up an active army of 780,000 trained men organized in 
corps and ready to take the field at once on the outbreak of 
war, having belimd them "troops of re-inforcement " amount- 
ing to 279,000 men Avho have all served at least one year in 
the army. These '• troops of re-inforcement " will be distributed 
in the corps depots together with the 150,000 men of the last 
class called up and not yet fully instructed. 

Thus the fightmg army of . . . . 780,000 men 

will have behind it . . . . . . 429,000 men 

moi'e or less instructed, learning more day-by-day, and always 
ready to fill up vacancies in the fighting corps or even, if neces- 
sary, to furnish a new army. 

The forces already spoken of come from the active army 
and its reserve which consists of men who have passed five 
years in the active army, but have not completed then- ninth 
year of total service. 

After nine years' service m the active army and its reserve, 
the soldier falls into the " territorial army," and, after five years 
in it, comes to the "reserve of the territorial army," where 
he remains till he has completed his twentieth year of service. 
A table showing the estimated strength of the active and terri- 

torial armies witli their reserves is given on page 108. The 
grand total, at the end of twenty years' working of the law, 
should amount to 2,423,164 men. 

Twenty years may appear a long time, but it will be ob- 
served that, nine years after passing the law, France ought to 
see a field force ^\4th reserves amounting altogether to about 
1,200,000, and the Government could hardly fail to find old 
soldiers able to garrison the principal fortresses in case of the 
occm-rence of war withm the next eight or nine years. 

So far we have spoken of numbers, let us now briefly 
examine the organization. 

France is di\dded into 18 regions, each ganisoned by an army 
corps. There is besides a special corps for Algeria. 

Each corps will have two infantry divisions, one brigade of 
cavalry, one brigade of artillery, one battahon of engineers, and 
one squadron of field train besides staff" and auxihary ser"\aces. 
The proportion of guns is to be 3*6 per 1,000 combatants. The 
extra-divisional artillery is to be called " corps artillery " instead 
of " reserve artillery " as before, lest, as happened in the late war, 
the name should lead to its use " as a mere support " instead oi 
" at the commencement of the battle." 

The various army corps A\dll be recruited indifferently from 
the whole contingent ; and, during peace, may be moved from 
region to region; but the reserves will be organized in then own 
regions. At the outbreak of war the men of the reserve are to 
be mobilized near then homes, clothed and armed at depots 
already known to them, within a day's w^alk, and sent to swell 
the ranks of that corps which happens to be stationed in the 
region at the time. 

The teiTitorial army will, at all times, belong to its o^\ll 
region. Its duties in war will be to garrison fortresses, defend 
strategic points, and work the etappen arrangements (lines of 

Thus the new French system is a combination of the German 
district system, and that called by General Chareton the 
" national system." 

There are to be no combinations of army corps to form 
armies under one Commander during peace. 

Among the decrees of the President to carry out the prin- 
ciples of the Bill, is one for the re-organization of the staff'. It 
is short, but indicates clearly enough the intention of the 
military authorities to carry out in its integrity the principle 
that the head-quarter staff should, during peace, be constantly 
occupied in preparation for war, while the Generals command- 
ing army corps are directly responsible, in peace as in war, for 
both command and administration of their respective corps. 

Few subjects have created more controversy than the rela- 
tion of the command to the administration. The French have 
settled it on the principles thus laid down by General Chareton 
in the name of the Committee (page 65). 

" 1st. Absolute independence of the control. 


'* 2nd. The separation of the administrative services of the 

" management, direction, and control. 
" 3rd, The subordination of the administration to the com- 

" mand in time of peace as in time of war. 
" 4th. The individual working of the medical corps under 

" the direct authority of the command." 

To sum up, it may be said that the experience of one of the 
most terrible disasters that ever befel a high-spirited nation has 
caused the army of France to be remodelled on these principles : 

1st. General obligation of military service. 

2nd. A peace organization, approacliing as nearly as possible 
the organization for war. The corps are always ready, 
*r^~^ with their staffs and administrative services, and only 

require the addition of their reserves — always close at 
hand — in order to take the field. Their stores are also 
on the spot. 

3rd. Decentralization. Each General mobilizes his own 
corps, is responsible for his own first supplies, and can 
have no one but himself to blame if he is slow or wants 

4th. On the other hand, the Government has a corps of 
inspectors who will, dming peace, detect the incompe- 
tence of a Commander. This corps of inspectors is 
spoken of, in page Go, as the " General Control," as 
distinguished from the "Interior Control." 

5th. The control is carefully separated from the administra- 
tion, and the Generals are expected to be good admini- 
strators as well as good leaders of troops. 

6th. Recruiting, remounts, hospitals, &c.^r ^ye managed by 
the territoiial stafi" in each region, but «». xvays under the 
General commanding the corps there present. When 
a coi-ps is mobilized and quits its region, the command 
of the region and its territorial troops is handed over to 
an ofiicer previously appointed by the Minister. 

In order to distinguish the French system fit'om the German, 
now and in the future, the French word "regional" has been 
literally translated wherever it applies to the former, although 
it is used by the French in speaking of the German system. 
When the same word refers to the German system it has been 
translated " district." 

The reader is requested to bear in mind the distinction 
between an " army corps " and a " coi-ps." The latter may 
mean any organized body of men, such as a regiment or 
battahon of infantry, or a brigade of artillery. The word corps 
is frequently used in this sense, for instance, in Article 11 of the 

The most important measures taken to carry out the provi- 
sions of the Bill have been added at the end of this translation. 

C. B. B. 



By General Chareton, Member of the National Assembly. 

Anneo'ed to the proces-verbal of the Sitting, 9th June. 

Translated in tlie Intelligence Department, by Major C. B. 
Brackenbury, R.A., D.A.A.G. 

The Committee was thus composed : — 

President.— M. de Lasteyrie. 

Vice-Presidents. — General Baron de Chaband-la-Tonr. Ad- 
mnal de Montaignac. 

Secretaries. — M. M. Bethmont, Chaper, Emile Carron, the 
Marquis de Momay. 

Members. — Messieurs de la Rochethulon, d'Aboville, de 
Combarieu, General Billot, Admiral de Dompierre d'Hornoy, 
Cornehs de AYitt, General Loysel, General Yictor Pelhssier, 
General Chareton, General Ducrot, the Marquis de Yorgue, 
Admu-al de la Ronciere le Noury, Dahirel, de Carayon-Latom-, 
the Duke de Crussol-d'Uzes, General Martin des Pallieres, 
Colonel de Cha ", " ",, Admiral Saisset, General Frebault, Fresneau. 
Aclocque, Marquis d'Andelarre, Passy, Baron Yast-Yimeux, 
Andren de Kerdrel, Yarroy, General Chanzy, Sarrette, Baron 
de Barante, Brun (Yar), the Duke d'Harcourt, the Count 
Octave de Bastard, Bouisson and de Merode. 



§ 1. Necessity of fixing by Law the base of our Military 


The organization of the military forces of a nation is one 
of the attributes of the sovereign power. 

Placed under the control of a system of Orders in Council 
in monarchies where the executive power and the sovereignty 
are blended in the same hands, it must be _ regulated by laAv m 
countries where the sovereign power is distinct from the 



You, yourselves, decided this when you voted Article 45 of 
the law of the 27th July, 1872.* 

The Government holds the same opinion ; and the President 
of the Repubhc, in introducing the Bill on organization, which 
was laid upon the table, gave you to understand that there are 
two essential reasons for this. 

First. Because the foundations of a country's greatness 
should be profoundly stable. 

Second. Because the formation of cadres is a work of time : 
they can never be improvised and there ought to be no differ- 
ence except that of numbers between the peace and war foot- 
ing of an army. 

To these essential reasons we will add a third which is 
no less essential. It is that we could not reduce the effective 
of the ranks beyond a certain lunit without rendering impossible 
the instruction of the cadres, and reducing hurtfully that 
rapidity of mobilization which is, in these days, the first con- 
dition of all good army organization. 

It is the business of the law to fix the minimum, and 
experience teaclies that when this is not done, there is danger 
lest the credits opened for the war budget to keep up the 
effective of bayonets should, by too early dismissal of men to 
their homes or an exaggerated issue of temporary leave, be 
rendered capable of being transferred and used towardf? other 
expenses not anticipated or not authorised by the legislative 

It is necessary to guard against this danger if we would 
not have the army become a fiction. 

The Bill presented to you by the Government seemed to 
have taken no thought of this matter, for it only foresaw the 
construction of permanent cadresf without mentioning the 
number of effectives in the ranks either on a peace or war 

Your Committee will propose to you to fix the minimum of 
the peace establishment in the Bill which it will have the 
honour to submit to your deliberations. The Bill will also deter- 
mine the internal constitution of the executive§ bodies of troops. 

An objection has been made to this fixation, and must not 
be passed over in silence. It is that we cannot foresee the 
necessities of the future and ought therefore to avoid giving 

To tliis we reply that by fixing a minimum for the effective 
of men, the Assembly abdicates no part of its liberty smce it 
ceases not to be sovereign. 

* The Article is in these terms : — "'Special laws will determine the bases of the 
" organization of the active and territorial armies, as well as of the reserves." 

1" See the annexed tables on the Grovernment's proposed law. 

X It is necessary to go back to the details of the war budget in order to know 
the effei-tive on a peace footing. 

§ " Corps de troupps." This French expression has no equivalent in English 
military language. It means organized liodies of soldiers, such as battalions, 
brigades, &e., as distinct from staff. — C. B. B. 

The country must no longer live on illusions. Our duty 
both to it and to ourselves is to tell the truth. 

Now, we cannot avoid seeing, and we ought to confess that 
one of the most striking faults in our national character is a 
e^vift forgetfulness in present prosperity of past lessons and 
future dangers. 

Assuredly, gentlemen, you who have been ^^dtnes8es of 
our countiy's misfortunes are not the men to haggle vnth. the 
Government over the means to prevent their recun-ence. 

But, who can tell whether the Assembhes which will 
succeed you, may not oncf^ again treat as miproductive and use- 
less the expenditm-e on the array ? 

Who can tell, whether, on the eve of a war, there may not 
be found a Financial Committee demanding of the Assembly 
the reduction of our military forces, and a ministry ready to 
consent to the measure ? 

Against this oblivion of the past and against these fatal 
tendencies it is onr desire to forewarn our successors. 

We would tell them, by fixing a minimum for the number 
of men, that the maintenance of the strength of an army is 
an annual premium of insurance against foreign invasion and 
dismemberment of territory. You cannot diminish the pre- 
mium without diminisliing at the same time the safeguards of 
the country. 

Forgetfulness of this fact has cost us two of our most 
patriotic provinces and five milHards. 

The Assemblies that will succeed us, may, it is true, like 
those before our time, remain deaf to this voice of warning ; 
but we shall have done our duty, and if they by imprudent 
reductions of our military forces should compromise the se(;urity 
of the country, the responsibility Avill be theirs alone. 

Such, gentlemen, are the three essential arguments which 
should determine you not to lay the foundations of our military 
organization on the shifting will of Governments or Financial 

You have already regulated by the law of recruitment the 
obligations of citizens towards the State. 

You have before you two bills : the first which assures to 
non-commissioned officers, after 12 years of good service in 
the army, employment in one of our public departments. 

The second regulates the rehgious service in the army in 
peace as well as in war. 

A\Tiat your Committee now propose is, to continue the 
work of reorganization and regeneration, by fixing also legally 
the principles of the general organization of the army : — prin- 
ciples which may serve as a foundation for special laws regu- 
lating the internal constitution of the executive bodies of troops, 
of the staff, schools, and administrative services, regulating also 
the advancement and position of officers. 

Some of these special laws have already been studied by 
your Committee ; they will be laid before you hereafter. 

B 2 

But, gentlemen, if yon shonld only have decreed the outHiie 
to be tilled up in completing onr militaiy legislation you would 
have done much for the honour and security of the country. 

§ 2. — Insufficiency of our Military Organization. 

A^ew conditions of Modern War. 

The events which took place during the war 1870-71 have 
shown the insufficiency of our military organization. 

A few months sufficed the German army to invade our 
territory, turn or reduce our fortresses, starve out our capital, 
and place us in the very situation occupied by Prussia after 
our victories of 1806 and 1807. 

With the restorative elements, and the vital energy pos- 
sessed by our country, — forces the extent of which was rmsus- 
pected by us a few months ago ; wdth a people active, laborious, 
intelligent and, in spite of our disasters, four times as numerous 
as tlie population of Prussia in 1807, shall we not know how to 
repair our reverses by the reform of our military institutions 
and the wisdom of our administration ? 

The two years whicdi have just elapsed permit us, gentle- 
men, to indulge a legitimate hope that we shall. 

But if the insufficiency of our military organization has been 
proved by experience, experience also teaches us that, neither 
armies nor Generals can he improvised hy a decree, and that if 
education is rapid on the field of battle, its cost is far too dear. 

The conditions of war are no longer what they were. The 
machine is coming to take the place of the man on the field of 
battle ; and if war yet remains an art in its highest conceptions, 
we cannot deny that it has become a science, subject to fixed 
rules in its applications. 

In the combat, fire assumes a growing preponderance over 
the bayonet. 

The necessity of passing over great distances under the 
fire of artillery of precision and of rapid rifle fire, paralyses 
the dash of troops, and forces them to fight from afar and 
under shelter. 

These new conditions of war are unfavourable to us, for 
they are essentially contrary to om' temperament and national 

Differing from former times in their tactical aspect, they 
are no less so from a strategical point of view. 

At the epoch of out- great mihtary glory, in spite of the pro- 
gress realised under the first Empire in the system of our means 
of communication, there existed only roads on wliich troops 
and convoys could move but slowly, and the difficulties of sub- 
sisting armies on even short lines of operation necessitated a 
reduction of their effective strength. 

But it is otherwise now ; the railway and the locomotive 
have given astonishing rapidity to mihtary operations, and the 
possibility of transporting rapidly, to great distances, masses of 

troops, pro^asions, and material, has had for result the increase 
of numbers in such proj)ortions as would appear exaggerated 
and clumerical to the minds of those who have arrested their 
raihtary studies at a past that is not yet very far from us, and 
refused to pay sufficient attention to the new conditions. 

For us, gentlemen, these invading masses, as powerful by 
their number as by their organization, have been sad realities ; 
and experience lays upon us imperatively the obligation of 
taking account of them, if we would not expose the country to 
the most terrible eventuahties. 

We cannot hide from ourselves that if some of our fortresses 
— too few unhappily — have succeeded, thanks to a noble and 
glorious resistance, in holding fast a part of the enemy's forces, 
they could not sensibly retard the march of invasion. 

The time is past when the prolonged resistance of a fortress 
could permit a beaten national army to reorganize and reinforce 
itself in order to take the offensive. 

Time is no longer as formerly on tlie side of the defence. 

It is then necessary that at every instant, and with all its 
means of action, the defence must be ready to face an attack. 

And if, in the past, it was correct to say, that victory ad- 
hered to the big battalions, we may now say, and with even 
better reason, that she cleaves to liim who, with equal forces, 
is sooner ready and able to get the start of his adversary. 

Permanent preparation, then, and rapidity of mohilization, stand 
forth as the two indispensable conditions of every army organization. 

The Bill which we have the honour to present to you is 
specially intended to reahse these conditions. 

In accord with the Government on the main object, your 
Committee has had the satisfaction to agree with it also on the 
means for attaining that object. 

The Government recognises equally with your Committee 
the power of numbers. It admits that to make our luiJitary 
honom- and national independence safe, it is indispensable for 
us to be always in a condition to oppose to invasion forces 
equal to those of the invader in quantity and solidity of 

We shall gain the desired qualifications, uidividual and 
collective, by the five years service in the active army imposed 
upon all citizens by the law of recruiting. 

Comparing the resources which the law of recruiting, 27th 
July, 1872, places at our disposal, Avith the strength of other 
Em-opean Powers, we find that we are inferior to none of them 
in point of numbers.* 

We only place omvselves at a pomt of view exclusively de- 
fensive, for, in agreement with the Government, you have 
yom-selves proclaimed, gentlemen, that the policy of France is a 
policy of peace. 

Peace is necessary for us to repair our disasters and rebuild 

* See Table I in Appendix. 


our ruins ; but, according to the old adage, we shall be sure of 
peace just m proportion as we are strong and always ready to 
repulse unjust aggression. 

Besides, has not France been the last of the great powers 
of Europe to occupy herself T\dth the reconstruction of her 
military organization on new foundations? 

Germany^ Russia, Austria, Italy, and even England have 
preceded us on this road. 

It would be impossible, with any show of reason, to attribute 
to us aggressive intentions, for they would be in manifest con- 
tradiction with our situation. 

But numerical strength only, without military instruction and 
discipline, is disorder and helplessness. 

In this double aspect our adversaries have been incontestably 
superior to us ; to recognise the fact is to determine for our- 
selves and the country that these two causes of mferiority shall 
cease to exist. 

Our Officers have comprehended it, and have, of their own 
accord, boldly undertaken reform. 

The Government energetically seconds theii- efforts, and we 
may explain, with a satisfaction which you, gentlemen, will 
share, the extent of the progress already made in this direction. 

A very marked intellectual movement has taken place in the 
army within the last two years ; it has manifested itself 
especially in numerous studies and publications on the ques- 
tion now occupymg our attention — that of mihtary reorganiza- 

The press itself has taken a greater interest than formerly 
in military affairs. 

Your Committee have borrowed, from numerous documents 
and works transmitted to them, very useful information, and can 
say, with truth, that the bill they now submit to your dehbera- 
tion is only the result of that great military investigation to 
which all men who, in spite of her reverses, have not despaired 
of their country's future and are still jealous for her power and 
grandeur, have brought the disinterested help of their experience 
and devotion. 

§ 3rd. — Resources placed at the disposal of the Country 
BY THE Law op Recruiting, 27th July, 1872. 

The Law of Recruiting, 27th July, 1872, places at the dis- 
posal of the country the following resources, calculated according 
to an annual contingent of 15.0,000 men,* deducting losses esti- 
mated at 4 per cent, for the first year, 3 per cent, for the second, 
and 2 per cent, for the other years : — 

* See Table, Law of Recruiting, Captain Home's translation, page 39. 

Active Forces* 

Active army (5 classes) . . . . . . 704,714 

Reserve of the active army (4 classes) . . 510,294 

On fm-loiiglif . . ^ 141,414 

Adding the permanent portion of the army 

not provided for by enrolments^. . . . 120,000 

We arrive at a total of , . . . 1,476,420 

for the active army. 

Territonal Army. 

5 Classes (organized) . . . . . . 582,523 

Reserves, not organized (6 classes) . . 625,000 

Total for the territorial army . . 1,208,156 

We must not, however, suppose that all the active forces 
can be opposed to aggression in time of war. 

From the total of active army .. .. 1,476,420 

must be deducted, as follows — 

1. The last class enrolled 150,000, whose ^ 

instruction is not yet complete . . . , | 

2. Men on furlough, about 141,420, who have ! ^jq-. .^^ 

not yet any instruction, and could not, ' "' ' 
therefore, be incorporated with the regi- 
ments wnthout weakening them 
These will all be sent to corps depots to be 
trained when war breaks out. 

Thus the total of the active forces is 

reduced to 1,185,000 

* Table No. 2. Appendix, 
t Table No. 3. Appendix. 

j See Table, Law of Eecruiting, Captain Home's translation, page 41. 
It is probable that the number of the engaged and re-engaged men will be con- 
siderably diminished in consequence of the application of the new law. 

Brought forward 1,185,000 

A farther reduction must be madeH 

of men organically worthless, I ^^n qqq 
and the permanent deficit of the .' ' 

corps . . . . . . . . J 

But against this deduction may be 
set men obtained — 

1st, by relieving the Algerian corps 
by territorial troops, we gain 
40,000 men. 

2nd, by taking the men left at home 
unfit for armed service, and em- 
ploying them for auxiliary ser- 

Estimate for the nuie classes about 

Deduct 31,000 and 40,000, or . . 71,000 

Leaves a total deficiency attribut-1 qr ^/^^ q- ^rv^ 

able to non-effectives . . . . f ' ' 

We can, therefore, dispose of a real ef-'^ 

fective strength for the organization of f -, aqa qaa 
the army, after providhig for all home T ' ' 

service, amounting to . . . . . . J 

Such an army, composed entirely of soldiers who have served 
at least a year, ^vith complete cadres, and, above all, well com- 
manded, havmg behind it about 291,432 men under instruction 
at the depots, resting further on an organized territorial army 
of 582,523 men, which itself has a reserve of recruiting of 625,633 
men, would seem sufficient to make head against every aggres- 
sion, even if made simultaneously upon several points of the 
frontier ; sufficient, also, to prolong a struggle to as far a point 
as oiu: financial resources woidd carry us. 

It is our busmess to make the best of these resomxes ; and 
the necessity of economizmg in peace, so as to be able to sustain 
a long war, is a new element introduced mto the problem of our 
military organization. 

§ 4th. — Organization in Groups of the Forces constituting 

THE Army. 

1. — Organization before 1870. 

How are we to distribute and group these constituent forces 
of our army? 

^ Before the war of 1870, France was divided into gi-eat 
military commands. 

Tliese commands, excepting Paris and Lyons, which ad- 
mitted of active organized forces, were in fact only territorial 
commands, comprising a certain number of territoiial military 
divisions and subdivisions. 

Usually, the Generals commanding had under their orders 
only depots or fractions of corj)s which they occasionally united 
in order to review them ; the most fortunate were able to group 
in this mamier one or two regiments. 

The constituted brigade and division only appeared as ex- 
ceptions at Paris and Lyons. In other places nothing was 
formed but the regiment, and its strength, weakened by the 
great number of furloughs given each year for economical 
reasons, was for the most part scattered in a multitude of little 
garrisons,* to the great detriment of instruction and discipline. 

We need hardly add, that none of these groups were com- 
pletely provided with the material wliich would be necessary to 
enter on a campaign. 

The result was dispersion and breaking up of corps ; Generals 
forgetting their position and teaching nobody; inferior officers 
without real command, and consequently, without responsibility 
or means of instruction. 

In one word — no preparation for war. 

This was our condition when the events of 1870 burst 
upon us. 

We found ourselves v^dthout preparation, without organiza- 
tion, and, it may be added, without du-ection ; armed with an 
inferior artillery ; face to face with an enemy long ago pre- 
pared, strongly organized, and havuig in his favour the ad- 
vantage of number and superiority in commanders. 

We could not but succumb, and these, gentlemen, were the 
causes of our reverses. 

We xvere beaten by icant of preparation, organization, and direc- 
tion, and by the iveakness of our effective, rather than by the arms of 
our enemies. 

If we recall here the memory of our own reverses, it is not 
to condemn the men who brought them upon us, for we are all 
more or less culpable, but to draw from them useful lessons 
and to guard against theu' recmTence. 

Necessity of a Permanent Formation. 

The first of all these lessons is, that the army ought to be 
at all times prepared for a tear and permanently constituted in 
brigades, divisions, and corps d'armee, provided ^.vith. com- 
manders, staff, all the administrative and auxiliary services and 
necessary material,! so as to be able to take the field with the 

* Table No. 7, Garrisons. 

t Article 9 of the Bill of the Commission, and Article 6 of the proposal of the 


least possible delay, passing from a peace to a war footing by a 
simple increase of numbers. 

This fandamental principle of all army organization is not 
new to us, tliougli unliappily so quickly forgotten. 

We read the following in the preamble of the Ordinance of 
17th March, 1788, which divided the French Array into brigades 
of two regiments of the same arm grouped in twenty-one 
divisions : — 

" His Majesty wills that the troops be always ready to take 
" the field, and, to that end, that they be organized, equipped, 
" and provided with all their field appointments, as they ought 
" to be in war, so that peace may be for them a constant school 
" of discipline and instruction, whilst it will be a school of com- 
" mand for the Generals." 

To this principle of permanent preparation we must return. 

3. — Permanence of the Cadres. 

From it, then, follows as a result the permanence of the 
cadres, to wliich must be given such elasticity that, at the 
moment of mobilization, they may be sufiicient for a number of 
men at least double that of the peace strength. 

The Government and your Committee are agreed that in 
time of peace the cadres ought to be kept up to the normal 
standard fixed by the law of organization. At the moment of 
mobilization these cadres will be placed on a war footing by 
means of non-commissioned ofiicers called up to active service. 

The non-commissioned officers retired from the ranks of the 
active army, and placed " at disposal," sent on furlough, or in 
the army reserve, find also in the law guarantees assurmg them 
that, in case of being recalled to serve, they will return with 
their grade to the ranks of the mobilized army. 

Your Committee have thought it right to give those gua- 
rantees, in order not to alienate from the cadres, already so 
difficult to recruit, young persons who, having assured positions 
in civil life, have no necessity to obtain later, by a continuance 
of their service in the active army, one of the employments 
wliich the Bill before you promises them conditionally. Thus 
also may be preserved even the one year volunteers who may 
obtain brevets as non-commissioned officers in virtue of Article 
58, law of recruiting. 

Of what use would the rank be to either of these classes if, 
having obtained it, they could be recalled to serve as privates ? 

Some fear has been expressed that, by permitting this right to 
non-commissioned officers " at disposal," or in the reserve, there 
would result some embarrassment at the moment of mobiliza- 
tion on account of their number. 

To this your Committee reply that Article 58 of the law 
of recruiting in relation to one year's volunteers is too plain to 
leave room for denial, and that there is no motive for treating 
less favourably non-commissioned officers -who have left the 


ranks. Besides, the greater number of the latter will only quit 
the active army to enter the civil service at an age when the 
class to which they belong will be passing to the tenitorial 
army. Thus they will no longer belong to the active army at 
the moment of mobilization. 

The formation of troops of remforcement or of depots ^vill 
employ the whole, or at least t^e greater part of the others ; 
and far from their number being an embarrassment, it is rather 
to be feared that it will be insufficient, and we may be obliged 
to have recourse to new promotions in order to complete the 

§ 5. — Constitution of the Army Corps.* 

The permanent organization of the troops in brigades, 
divisions, and army corps being admitted, how shall om- army 
corps be composed? 

The Government and the Committee are agreed in ask- 
ing you to decide that an army corps is to contain two 
divisions of infantry, one brigade of cavalry, one brigade of 
artillery, one battalion of engineers, one squadron of field train, 
with the staffs and different services necessary for its working. 
The Algerian corps will receive a special organization, because 
of the special nature of the services required of it and the 
division of our African colony into three pro\ances. Tliis corps 
will be constantly kept up to its war footing. 

Seeing that the question, whether each army corps should 
be nominally composed of two or three divisions, is much 
debated, and the cleverest people are not agreed on the point, 
it would be little in conformity with the logic of facts to wish 
to resolve it in an absolute manner. We may say, perhaps, 
more exactly, that the composition of an army corps should 
vary according to the part assigned to it in the niihtary opera- 
tions, and even more according to the presumed capacity of its 

Thus we see, in 1870, with the army of the Rhine, three out 
of seven of our army corps composed of four divisions of 
infantry, under the command of Marshals of France, while the 
others, commanded by Generals of Division, only contained 
three. The Imperial Guard itself only had two divisions. Each 
of these corps comprised also a division of cavalry. 

In the war of 1870, the Germans, whose army corps were 
originally four divisions of infantry, set themselves to reduce 
the number while rendermg them uniform. Their corps are 
now composed of two divisions of infantry, each having two 
brigades of two regiments, two regiments of di\dsional cavalryf 
and seventeen batteries of artillery. 

The Bavarian corps, the Guard corps, the 8th Prussian 

* Article 6 of the Bill. f One for each infantry division. 


corps, and the 12th Saxons, are the only exceptions to this 
rule, and then only as regards the cavalry. 

The Guard corps, besides two divisional regiments of 
cavalry, has a cavalry division of three brigades. 

The Bavarian corps have, in addition to the two divisional 
regiments, a cavalry brigade of two regiments. 

The 8th and 12th Prussian corps have a cavalry division of 
two brigades, besides the ordinary formation.* 

These exceptions affect more particularly the allied corps of 
South Germany, and do not infringe the rule, for the infantry 
composition of all the army corps is the same — namely, two 

If from these latter times we go back to the epochs of our 
earlier wars, we find that all armies having organized army 
corps, from 1796 to 1815, have only exceptionally corps of 
more than three divisions. Not more than ten examples are to 
be fomid in a period of more than twenty years of war. 

In 1805, we find one corps of more than four divisions ; in 
1809, one of four and one of five ; in 1812, two of four and two 
of five; in 1813, one of four; and in 1815, two of four 

In the Crimea, out of three army corps, the French army 
Jaad one corps mth four divisions and one with five ; but this 
was a necessity engendered by special circumstances m war — 
a great siege as well as field operations. This example, then, 
cannot be considered as a type of army organization. 

In Marshal Niel's Bill of 1868, the Army Corps had three 
divisions of infantry and one brigade of cavahy. 

The combination of threes is at first seductive and is praised 
by its partisans, because, according to circimistances, it pro\ades 
a centre and two wings, or one division for a reserve, while, in 
case of the detachment of a division, there remain two under 
the General's command. 

" If," they say, " the corps contains only two divisions, and one 
is detached, the corps commander has under his orders but one 
division which has already its chief, so that there is the same 
work to be performed by two authorities of unequal degree." 

The partisans of the two division formation answer that these 
considerations, if they have any foundation, would require equally 
the threefold combination in tactical imits smaller than an army 

The Company of Infantry in two sections, the regiment of 

* " The Franco-G-erman "War," edited by the Prussian Staff. 
t Out of 200 army corps which have ■ taken part in operations of war since 
1790, we may reckon 

2 of 1 division (Imperial Guard) in 1805-6. 

97 of 2 „ 

73 of 3 „ 

23 of 4 „ 

5 of 5 „ 

The formation in two divisions has, then, been that most employed. 


cavalry with four squadrons, the brigade of two regiments, and 
the division of two brigades are examples to tlie contrary. 

It would then be logically necessary to modify tliis state of 
thmgs and adopt the threefold formation for these different 
units — yet no one proposes such a measure. 

As for the argmnent drawn fi*om the chance of the detach- 
ment of a division we may reply, with Marshal Bugeaud* and the 
Duke of Ragusa,t that if' the detaclmient of small units is with- 
out serious dangers, the same cannot be said for large ones. 
Such detachment should therefore be avoided as a fault or 
danger. More than one example may be found in our military 
history. Marshal Marmont has cited several, the most striking 
being that of the Battle of Marengo which, lost at fh'st, was 
only won at the end of the day by the return of the division of 
Desaix M'-ho, detached towards Novi, retraced his steps on hear- 
ing the cannon. Without gomg back so far we may cite the 
case of Lapasset's brigade in the last war. Detached from the 
5th corps at Sarraguemines, it was cut off for the rest of the 
campaign from the corps to which it belonged. 

The regulations of the 3rd May, 1832 on field service (Head 
IX), only seems to permit detachments from small units. 

The argument urged by the partisans of formation in three 
divisions, that one may be wanted for detachment, does not seem 
to justify such a formation. 

That drawn from the equal duty of two authorities unequal 
in rank, agamst formation in two divisions, has no greater value, 
for the army corps is not composed solely of two infantry 
divisions ; it contains besides a brigade of cavalry, a corps of 
artillery equal to the divisional artillery, Avithout counting the 
reserve of engineers and all the admmistrative and anxihary 
forces not included in the divisions but forming an effective of 
more than 9,000 men ; there is not then equality of action as 
these partisans pretend. 

It seems to us that the formation and the effective strength 
of the army corps should be determmed by more logical con- 

The army corps ought to be a little army, and tliis is its 
essential character. 

It is called upon to aid in the execution of a part of the plan 
of campaign ; it combines its operations with those of other 
corps ; it acts in joint responsibihty and m relation to them, but 
separately and at distances more or less great, and the union 
between several army corps only takes place on the field of 

* " Do not make detachments, except in case of absolute necessity. In most 
" cases it ^ill be better to move all the army than to risk by detaching it, a part of 
" its forces, or to be deprived of the help of that part when attacked or obliged to 
" move away in its absence." — Marshal Bugeaud, '' Maximes, Couseils et Instruc- 
" sur I'Art de la Guerre," page 87- 

t " Esprit des Institutions Militaires," 3rd part, chapter v, pages 171 and follow- 
ing. '• Eien n'est plus dangereux que de faire un detachement." 


Except as regards combinations, its existence is independent, 
and it should therefore be individually provided with all means 
of action. 

In the last war the strength of our army coi-ps was not on 
an average greater than 25,000 men, too low for their constitu- 
tion in three divisions, and they were too inferior in number to 
the corps of the enemy. 

The Germans apparently did not fear to impose on their 
Generals a heavier task, and their army corps, on a war footing, 
numbers no less than 88,000 men. 

This fitoess of the chiefs for command arises from the 
German organization in peace, for the troops are always in 
brigades, divisions, and army corps ; their Generals and staff 
officers thus acquire more practice than ours in great commands. 
It will suffice us, in order to reach the same result, to act hke 
them and to leave our Generals more authority and initiative ; 
. by reducing within sensible limits the excessive centralization 
of the War Mmistiy, and by rendering the Generals responsible 
for the preparation and instruction of their army corps. 

We shall not hesitate then to raise to 38,000 or 40,000 men 
the strength of these corps at the moment of mobihzation. 

The strength thus determined will be base of their forma- 

The generally accepted composition of our infantry regiments 
being three active battalions, each of 1,000 men, our active 
divisions of infantry will have about 12,000 men. 

If the army corps were to be composed of three divisions, 
its infantry alone would present an effective of 36,000 men. 

Adding to this strength two or three regiments of cavalry, 
vnth artillery and its reserves in the proportion of foin- guns per 
1,000 men, engineers, and all the administrative and auxihary 
services, we should arrive at about 50,000 men, 12,000 horses, 
1,000 carriages, and 156 guns, as the total strength of an army 

It is evident that this would not be a simple army corps, but a 
veritable army wliich would require not less than a day to defile 
before its chief on one of our largest and best kept national 

The composition in three divisions might very well be ac- 
cepted if the regiments were to have a strength of only 1,500 
or 1,800 men, which would give 6,000 to 7,000 men per division, 
but not with regiments of 3,000 men and divisions of 12,000, as 
in our new organization. Nor must we reckon on the rapid 
weakening of the army corps, as m the past, for the organiza- 
tion of reserves for all arms has, for its especial object, the pre- 
vention of such weakening. 

Might there not also be some difficulty in finding always a 
sufficient number of Generals capable of exercising such a com- 
mand as this, and of managing such a mass m marches and on 
the field of battle ? 

Another interest besides those of the exercise, command, and 


mobility of the army corps should cause us to reduce it to tAvo 

The strength of an army corps being determined, its consti- 
tution in three diA^isions would necessitate the creation of three 
administrative and auxiliary services. Now the importance of 
these services for a division is not in proportion to its strength, 
but remains virtually the same whether the streng-th be 8, 10, 
or even 12,000 men. 

It is then advantageous as regards the reduction of the 
number of non-combatants, to have for our army corps two 
strong divisions rather than three weak ones, provided always 
that their strength be not exaggerated. Divisions of 12 to 
15,000 men are certainly not above the possibility of being 
commanded by a divisional General, and they prepare better 
than would smaller bodies for the command of an army corps. 

It is equally advantageous for the rapid transmission of orders 
because the chief command has only to do with two mtei-me- 
diaries instead of three. 

We may add that the formation m two divisions is preferable 
as regards the strength of regiments. 

For instance, the strength of the army corps being fixed at, say 
48,000 men, the battalions which, in the formation in two divi- 
sions would be 1,000 strong, must be dimmished by one-third if 
there were to be 36 instead of 24 battalions in the corps, and 
each battahon would only count 667 men. With this strength 
and a formation of six companies to a battalion, the strength of 
the company would be no more than 110 men ; certainly in- 
sufficient to meet the requirements of modern war which tend 
to make the company the tactical unit in battle. 

Many a page has been A\a-itten lately by mihtary men of all 
ranks on this question of the composition of army corps. 

The Minister of War has caused to be made an analysis and 
rhume of the different opinions put forward by a certam num- 
ber of Generals on the re-organization of the army, and it may 
be said that general opinion is m favour of the formation in two 

Every body agrees in asldng that the composition of om- 
army corps should be uniform, as in the German army. 

Your Committee, gentlemen, had agreed upon a mean solu- 
tion between the two systems, in accordance with the considera- 
tions we have had the honour to lay before you. 

It had decided to propose to you the formation of 12 
regional corps, each havuig 3 divisions or 6 brigades ; each of 
the corps was to detach, following a fixed tour of service, one 
of these brigades to unite in forming 3 army corps destined to 
garrison Lyons and Paris. The 5 brigades remaining to each 
army corps would then constitute 2 thvisions plus one brigade 
not included in a division but forming the infantry reserve of 
the army corps. 

The non-regional corps were constituted in only 2 divisions, 
but instead of having, like the regional corps, only 3 squadrons 


of cavalry, tliey were to have 5, one of which, was to furnish 
the divisional cavalry ; the four others were formed m divisions. 
This system had the advantage of confiding the keeping of 
Paris and Lyons to the whole army, and of calling, successively 
and in regular order, all the corps to form part of the gar- 
rison of Paris, this having been always considered as an 

Thus each army corps would have had a reserve, and the 
corps of Paris and Lyons being, according to the idea of your 
Committee, destmed to serve as general reserve to the fighting 
army, need only be mobilized after the regional corps, thus 
obviating the inconvenience of mobilizing rapidly these brigades 
detached from their corps and far from their reserves. The 
corps of Paris and Lyons need only leave then garrisons after 
being relieved by the territorial army. This was a necessity 
for public order imperiously forced upon us by the experience 
of the past. 

The system might suffer under the reproach of neglecting 
the prmciple of uniformity of army corps ; but this incon- 
venience would disappear to some extent by forming the two- 
division corps into an army of reserve acting independently. 

But, the Government having demanded 3 army corps for 
Paris and 1 for Lyons, your Committee felt that it was their 
duty to give effect to this desire, all the more because in doing 
so it became possible to give to the army corps a imiform com- 
position, without altering the mode of their formation and the 
advantages which it seemed to present. 

The Committee therefore agreed with the Government that 
all the army corps should have the same composition, except 
that of Algeria, where tlie division of the colony into 
'6 provinces requned a special formation. The details of both 
these two formations will be given m the law on the interior 
constitution of the regiments. 

It is a fixed principle of your Committee and of the Govern- 
ment,* that the regiments or the fractions constituting these 
regiments should alw^ays, especially in war, be furnished with 
all requisites for active service. 

But, beside this principle stands another no less important. 
It is that the troops should in no case be taken fi-om the com- 
mand of their dhect and habitual commanders. For this reason 
the Government and yom- Committee have agreed to reject the 
past formation of Artillery and Engineers for the army corps 
from detached batteries and companies taken from all the regi- 
ments of the arm, and brought together for the first time 
under the orders of an improvised Chief, whom they often saw 
for the first time, of whom they had no knowledge, and by 
whom they were equally unknown. 

Your Committee thought that the same brigade of artillery 
and the same battahon of engineers, under command of their 

* Article 9 of the Bill. 


accustomed chiefs, should for the future, furnish to the same 
army corps the requisite artillery and engineers. 

This formation m brigade under the command of a general 
ofBcer is, besides the peace formation, adopted by the Govern- 
ment for the interior organization of our artillery schools. 

Each army corps ha^ ing about 38,000 men, only 30,000 of 
Avliom can be counted on as combatants, the attachment of a 
brigade of artillery to each army corps gives a proportion of 
3' 6 guns per 1,000 combatants. 

This proportion is accepted by the Government, and could 
hardly be increased without over-weighting the colunms 
beyond all measure. 

Here, gentlemen, your Committee beheves it necessary to 
offer an observation that appears to be important. 

It has been the usage, and we find the same expression 
in the explanation of the Government Bill which has been 
distributed,* to call the extra-divisional artilleiy, '■^reserve 

In a country like ours, where, unhappily, words are often 
more miportant than facts, it has seemed necessary to your 
Committee to fix men's ideas, by giving to this artillery its truo 
name " corps artillery " (de corps artillerie (Varmee). 

The method of fightmg which consists in putting in line 
masses of artillery at the commencement of the battle, so as to 
obtain decisive results and open the way for the effective 
action of the other arms, has been the habit of our adversaries 
dming the late war. We had forgotten the examples given to 
us by Napoleon I ; but their coips artillery always worked with 
the advanced guard, whilst ours, considered as reserve artillery 
because it was called so, was rarely employed at the commence- 
ment of the battle. 

We must return to the tactics of Napoleon I and the 
Prussians, and because there is reason to fear that the inexact 
name " reserve artillery," so opposed to the spirit which should 
guide our extra divisional artillery, would lead to its use as a 
mere support, thus exposing our batteries to be destroyed in 
detail, we decided to give it its true name. 

As for the Engineers, the prevalent usage has been to 
attach to each division of infantry, a company of Sappers and 
Miners, and to place a reserve company at head-quarters with 
the corps park. Now, in practice, it generally happens that the 
reserve company charged with the general service of the army 
corps was insufficient for its work ; while the divisional com- 
panies were less usefully employed. Besides, these companies 
were generally drawn, like the batteries of artillery, from 
different regiments,! and being notoriously insuflicient for their 
duties were an embarrassment hi the battle. 

* Page 5. 

t This state of affairs had been modified in 1870. It was rightly decided in that 
campaign to employ in that campaign companies from the same regiment only, for 
the same army corps. 


Tlie principle that each division should contain all its means 
of action, does not permit the suppression of this company. 

Your Committee thought that the inconveniences wliich 
experience has proved to exist in our organization, might be 
avoided without violating the divisional prmciple, by attaching 
to each army corps one complete battalion of Engineers. Thus 
the reserve of Engineers would be reinforced and one company 
of Sappers and Miners would be attached to each division. 
This company might be recalled to the battalion in certain 
special cases, such as a siege or an important and urgent work, 
as has already been done at Rome and before Sebastopol, 
where all the divisional companies were united for the siege. 

What we have said of the composition of the artillery 
and Engineers is equally applicable to the corps of military 

It is just as important that tliis corps should be so consti- 
tuted that it can be divided mto parts corresponding with the 
divisions, brigades, regiments, battahons, and companies, in 
order to make sure that the service of these units shall be pro- 
perly performed in case of their detachment ; and, in order that 
there may never be either hesitation or embarrassment, the 
fractions should be detailed beforehand. Studying these con- 
ditions, we have decided to attach to each army corps on a 
war footing, a squadron of military train. 

§ 6 — Determination of the Number op Army Corps. 

The organization of our army corps being thus deter- 
mmed, what should be the number of these corps ? 

In the Bill wliich has been distributed to you, the Govern- 
ment asked for twelve, in order to constitute four great armies, 
each of 120,000 to 150,000 men^ one for the centre, two for 
the wings, and the fom'tli for reserve. 

Your Committee did not agree with this wish, because, as 
we have said, we considered army corps of 50,000 men too 
heavy and then* concentration too difficult. Besides, in such 
matters it was not possible to take no notice, as was the case in 
the Government Bill, of the organization of that Power which 
we may yet have to resist. 

Let us not forget that we have taken a strictly defensive 
view of our military organization, and that the essential advan- 
tage of the attack, mistress of the hour and place of aggression, 
is to copimand, to a certain extent, the means and the move- 
ments of the defence. 

Whatever be the part assigned to us by Providence, we can- 
not with equal forces resign ourselves beforehand to present to 
our adversary from the beginning of the defensive operations 
a front inferior to his, for we should be exposing ourselves again 
to be outflanked and turned on our wings, as we were almost 
always in the late war, and from this point of view the number 
of army corps is not a subject for indifference. 


Let us suppose two armies face to face, each 200,000 strong ; 
the first composed of four corps of three divisions, as the Govern- 
ment Avould have it ; the second of six corps of two divisions, 
the number of divisions being the same in both cases. 

]\Iost fi-equently the Hne of battle of the first army will be 
formed of two di\nsions from each corps; the tliird division 
being placed in reserve beliind the centre of the two others. 

The second army with four of its corps, deployed in the same 
manner but without a reserve di\dsion, will occupy the same 
front as the fii'st. 

But the Commander of the second army will have two 
corps at his disposal which he can send in a mass against one 
vjf the adversary's ^migs, the latter beuig only able to oppose 
to this turning movement the reserve division of the threatened 
array corps. 

In case then of an equal total strength there is the ad- 
vantage in ha^ang a greater number of army corps though 
each corps will be weaker. We will therefore organize our 
fighting army in eighteen corps of two chvisions, instead of 
adopting the twelve corps of three divisions, as proposed by the 
Government. In either case there would be thh'ty-six divisions. 

§ 7. — Formation of Armes. 

The Bill presented to you does not admit the existence, in 
time of peace, of separate armies permanently constituted, and 
here youi- Committee are in accord with the Government. 

The formation of an army should, in fact, be made in view 
of a definite operation of war, and after taldng into accomit the 
topographical nature of the soil, the chmate, the productions of 
the country, the nmnber, organization, and strength of the 
enemy to be met. It is, therefore, essentially variable according 
to these different elements. Dependent on circumstances in 
case of war, the permanent formation in peace has no reasonable 
object, and wordd, j^erhaps, not be without its dangers. You 
will understand what those dangers are, gentlemen; it is 
needless for us to explain them. 

From the mihtary stand-point, — the only one where we have 
to place om-selves, — the inconvenience would not be less. The 
formation of permanent armies in the country during peace, 
immobihzmg, so to speak, the great commands under the hands 
of certain general officers, Avould tmni the Commanders of 
army corps into subalterns, and thus hinder the development 
of indi\adual initiative among those officers who may some day 
be called to undertake the command-in-chief. They would 
acquu-e neither the sentiment nor the habit of responsibility, 
and when called upon to act they would hesitate and wait for 
orders. Moreover, it would be difficult at the moment of war to 
depose emment chiefs whose age and infirmities might have 
rendered them hardly capable of performuig active duty, and 
to place m other hands the commands they had been accustomed 

to consider as their right. 



We Bhould assuredly hesitate so to wrong their long and 
honourable service, and they Avould themselves complain "with 
all the energy of their patriotism, in the name of then- military 
honour, against what they would with reason call an affront 
done to then- hoary heads. 

These considerations have seemed to your Committee so 
serious that we have not hesitated to ask you to decide by a 
formal legislative decree* that there are to be no armies per- 
manently organized in time of peace, and that the commandants 
of the army corps shall not be retained in the same command 
more than four consecutive years, and, fm'thermore, that the 
exercise of command in time of peace shall create no ulterior 
privilege to exercise the functions of their rank.f 

These provisions, if you think Avell to adopt them, will 
guard, to a certain extent, against the inconveniences we have 
just pointed out to you. They will enable the Government to 
pass during peace a greater number of Generals through the 
command of armies and army corps, and, by thus enlarging 
the limits of choice, to confer the command of armies and army 
corps on those who may be judged most capable and most 

§ 8.— Non-permanence of Army Corps in their respective 


Though the organization of the army corps in permanent 
armies during peace has found few delenders in your Committee, 
the contrary principle has not prevailed altogether without 

Some members have pointed out that the necessities of 
pubhc order might, in certain cases, demand the union of 
several army corps under the same command ; that in fact it 
might become necessary at a given moment either to assemble 
an important force at given points of the country, or to form 
an army of observation on one of our frontiers. 

The Committee, while maintaining as' indispensable for the 
preparation of the Army the principle of the permanence of 
regiments and corps in the army corps to which they belong,^ 
has thought that the first of these necessities of service might 
be sufficiently satisfied by the power given by Article 15 to 
detach temporarily from a regional corps, regiments or fractions 
of regiments in order to place them under another command. 
But it must be well understood that these detachments will 
only be temporary, and that they must return to the original 
command to which they belong as soon as the causes of their 
removal shall have ceased. 

The proposal to leave to the Government the power of in- 
terchanging army corps, by causing them to pass from one 
regional circumscription to another, while making no alteration 

* Article 7 of the Bill. f Article U. X Article 15. 


in the rapidity of mobilization, has been combated within the 
Commission by members who have m-ged the following reasons. 
It was said that the system appeared to be in opposition to the 
spirit and tendency of the law. 

What was^ in fact, the fault of onr old military organization ? 
It was the isolation of the army from the nation, making it a 
separate caste with special laws, separate traditions and a spirit 
wliich might become distinct from that of the conntry. 

There was, men said, a striking analogy between this mili- 
tary constitution and that of the rehgious orders. The latter 
were cloistered in their monastery, as the soldier in his barrack, 
subject like him to a special discipline and a special law, for- 
getful of the country and the family and asking nothing but to 
be forgotten. 

The army, isolated from the rest of the country by its mode 
of recruitment and the particularism of its institutions, was no 
longer the real expression of the nation. As the religious mili- 
tant belonged rather to heaven than earth, the army belonged 
rather to the chief of the State than to the nation, and this 
was arrived at by a perpetual change of garrison, which no 
longer permitted it to Hve the hfe of the country, and inhale its 
spuit. The more the soldier could be alienated by breakmg 
the bonds which attached him to his \allage and his family, the 
greater was thought to be the success. JBut uoav that all our 
children, without exception, will be called to the standards, the 
character of the army is altered : it must be the army of the 
nation and the law, it ought no longer to be rmmindful of the 
family, and while the ties wliich bind it must not become an 
obstacle to military duty, neither must we suffer those ties — 
abeady so unhappily weakened — to become entirely broken. 

The mterchauge of region between different army corps, 
would present serious mconveniences as regards permanence of 

The army corps is not composed merely of regiments and 
a personal or auxiliary administration always easily replaced, 
but also of elements attached permanently to the territory of 
the regional circumscription, such as magazhies, arsenals, 
hospitals, bakeries, butchers, &c. 

The commanders should be specially solicitous as to the 
condition of these estabhshments, for it was m this part of the 
service, the preparation for mobilization, that our failm'e in 1870 
was most marked. 

Now it is in the nature of man to give more importance to 
things wliich are of personal interest, and from which he may 
draw definite advantages. The interest of the command \d\l 
be m harmony T^dth its cares, and its vigilance if, in the prepara- 
tion of all parts of the serAace, it can feel that it is preparing 
its own glori/. 

Is it not then to be dreaded that, if in constant expectation 
of sudden removal, the command will take less interest in a 
work of preparation, the fruits of which it may never reap ? 


Is it not ako to be dreaded that, by means of these changes 
of corps from one region to another, we may alter the national 
character which the new organization is endeavouring to give 
to the army, and that we may reach at last the very dualism 
we wished to avoid ? 

In first drawmg up Article 2 of the Bill, your Committee 
had formally consecrated the principle of the permanence of 
armv corps in their regions, and had been led to adopt, as the 
natmal consequence of tliis principle, the formation of the 
corps of Paris and Lyons by successive detachment of brigades 
from each of the regional corps, but, this organization havmg 
been abandoned for the much simpler and more rational one 
of the uniform organization of 18 army corps, the permanence 
of the army corps in their respective regions, did not appear 
to present the same interest. And in fact we have no longer 
any right to consider the army corps of Paris and Lyons 
as intended to form the army of reserve ; all the corps being 
regional except that of Algeria, might be mobihzed at the 
same time and in the same manner, which was certainly an 
advantage. It is even presumable that the corps of Paris 
and Lyons, less dispersed in gamsous, and, therefore, more 
exercised and better prepared than the others, Avill be, by 
reason of the nmnerous railways convergent on these two 
points, concentrated first and brought first to the frontier, 
and that, instead of forming the army of reserve they "wdll, 
on the contrary, form the advanced guard of the armies. 
Therefore, in order that each corps may in turn occupy these 
garrisons, it is necessary to admit that it may change its 
region. The abandonment of the principle of the permanence 
ipf Army Corps m their respective regions is also necessary for 
political reasons on which we need not enter now, and by the 
necessity of unitmg several corps for the annual manoeuvres. 
These movements must not be frequent, as they mil cause some 
expense, and the National Assembly wall always be able to 
control the necessity of these changes and keep them witliin 
just limits by its vote on Articles 1st and 2nd of Part VI, 
Chapter VI, of the war, budget relative to payments for marches 
and cost of transport of troops. 

Moreover, the Generals commanding army corps not being 
able to preserve the same command for more than four years, 
there is no longer any reason, so far as preparation is con- 
cerned, for keeping the army corps longer than this in the 
same region. Besides the real danger is not in the movements 
of the great tactical units, movements wliich do not alter the 
principle of then- permanent lormation. Preparation is then 
only an affair of the budget, more or less rapid, more or less 
complete, according to the importance of the credits you 
devote each year to the reconstruction of our war material, the 
expense of which, as your Committee on contracts has mformed 
you, should be rather more than a milliard and a half. The 
most important matter is not to permit the great units to be 


broken up by permanent and too frequent changes from one 
region to another of the regiments, or fractions of regiments, 
composing them. Article 15 of the law has provided for this 
by specifying that the regiments or fractions of regiments be- 
longing to an army corps may not be detached otherwise than 
temporarily. The same two regiments w^ll ahvays be brigaded 

Must we, therefore, gentlemen, approve the consecration of 
the prmciple of the permanence of garrisons, extolled as it is by 
some men of talents Certainly not, for this immobility of 
corps would present inconveniences of some gravity in relation 
to military spirit and disciplme by the bonds of all sorts which 
would result from it. 

The commandant of the army corps will, then, be able, 
whenever he judges it necessary, to move the detachments 
from one garrison to another, throughout the region, and 
replace them by troops of the same arm. 

This last restriction, accepted by the Government, is in- 
dispensable on two accounts, the interest of the Treasury and 
rapidity of mobilization. 

You know^, gentlemen, that quartering in barracks is esta- 
blished under different conditions for the various arms, and 
that at each change of occupation from one arm to another, it 
is indispensable to make modifications which generally cause 
considerable expense, to say nothing of the troops being badly 
or incompletely installed, and often wanting the local acces- 
sories necessary for the service. The fixity of barrack accom- 
modation is then at once an economy for the Treasury and a 
guarantee of comfort for the troops. 

It is above all indispensable for rapidity of mobilization. 

The principle of the permanence of army corps in their 
regions Ijeing abandoned, and the corps magazmes being 
separated from their depots to become regional establishments 
no longer attached to a definite corps but to the garrison, the 
men of the reserve are no longer attached to a corps which 
may be moved, but to a place of garrison wdiere they must 
find, instead of the regiment or corps which has gone, a corps 
of the same arm as that in which they are enrolled. 

Thus the movement of army corps neither changes the 
rapidity of mobilization nor the permanence of barrack arrange- 
ments. It permits us to preserve for the corps the gTeatest 
mobility, and proA^des against the pro\dncial spu-it which might, 
dm-ing a long sojourn in the same garrison, penetrate, not among 
the rank and file who never remain more than five years in the 
same garrison, but among the cadres, and cause the reappearance 
of some of those inconveniences which we endeavoured to avoid 
by distributing the contingent through all the army corps 
without distmction. 

Moreover, we are maldng a new law, which experience has 
not yet sanctioned. Let us then make the experiment, and 
give' to the law such elasticity that the Government may not 


find itself obliged to come to you every moment with requests 
for modifications. 

§ 9. — Decision on the Strength of the Fighting Army. 

1st. On the War Footing. 

We have limited the normal strength of an army corps to 
the maximum of 40,000 men. 

But in this effective all are not combatants. There are the 
auxiliary and administrative services, the number of which 
amount to about one-fifth the total of mouths. This leaves for 
the effective strength only about 32,000 combatants. 

The 18 corps of our field army, which would have to bear 
the first shock, will therefore comprise about 740,000 men,* 
including the officers. 

If the resources of our budget were indefinite, and there 
Avere ]io need to take account of the necessities of the national 
labour, Avhich alone can assure to us the financial resources 
indispensable to sustain and carry through Avar, we should not 
have to trouble ourselves about the expenses that the permanent 
maintenance of such a military condition would occasion. Such 
expenses are, however, insupportable by any power in Europe. 

It is, then, necessary tliat this strength be kept during 
peace Avithin the hmits of a normal budget not exceeding our 

2nd. On the Peace Footing. 

It is generally admitted that the cadres of a Avell-constitnted 
army should present sufficient elasticity to enable them, Avhen 
necessary, to supply cadres for double the normal strength. 
Our cadres are so organized as to fulfil this condition, since 
for a strength of 740,000 men,t we shall have 26,400 officers, 
and this number will be capable of increase by means of 
auxiliary resources. 

Since the active army and its reserve contain each four 
classes after deducting the first class the instruction of which 
Avould not be sufficient at the moment when war Avas declared, 
we see that the call of the reserve classes to the colours Avill 
nearly double our strength.^ Thus, in order to have Avhen Avar 
breaks out, — coimting about 40,000 men of the Algerian corps, 
— an army of 780,000 men, the permanent part of which neces- 
sarily kept up at all times amounts to 120,000 men,§ and the 

* Not including the corps of Algiers. 

t The composition of these effectives will be shown hereafter by tables annexed 
to the law on the interior constitution of the corps. The total here given is that 
which figures in tlie budget of 1814, page 557, and comprises neither ofBcers of 
gensdarmes, nor those of the Republican guard. 

X Sec Table of the effectives of each class, deducting losses (Table No. 2). 

I ^''^ '^^^'^<i of the composition of this permanent effective, page 70, Report of 
M. de Chasseloup-Laubat. 


part called up to tlie colours 600,000 men, it is at once necessary 
and sufficient to maintain during* peace 330,000 men ready to 
be called up. This will bring the total peace strength to 
450,000 men. 

The general recapitulation presented to you in the War 
Budget for 187-4 shows an army of 420,000 men,* including 
the effectives outside the regiments as well as the regiments 
themselves. To this must be added 23,000 gensdarmesf 
enth-ely maintained by the State, and 6,170 men of the 
Republican Guard, the half of whose mamtenance is borne 
by the city of Paris (3,085), or for the total strength maintained 

The strength shown on the Budget of 1873 amounts to this 
number,^ and that of 1872 to 461,283 men, or 10,000 more. 

But the difference between these numbers is so small that 
we may consider 450,000 men in round numbers as the normal 
strength of the army to be maintained on a peace footing.§ 
Nor is this exceeded in the new organization proposed by 
your Committee. 

Compared with the present organization, the projected one 
realises a sensible economy in the budget, while notably in- 
creasing our military power. This is done by maldng better 
use of the cadres, which, be it well understood, are not at 
present sufficiently occupied. 

If we examine the arrangement of the effectives of an 
infantry regiment, as shown in the budgets of 1873 and 1874, 
we see that by the constitution of the regiment the strength 
provided for the company is not more than 50. Deducting men 
in hospital or on leave, cooks, orderlies, and other employed 
men, there scarcely remain 30 to 35 men m the company for 
service and manoeu\a-es. 

With such a weak effective we may say that neithei- instruc- 
tion of the cadres is possible nor emulation among the men. 
Thus the country has, if you permit me to say so, only the 
skeleton of an army instead of an efficient military force. 

By these facts is justified the proposal which will be made 
to you to fix a minimum for the men on a peace footing. 

Besides, this permanent definition is in no way peculiar to 
our country; it exists in Germany and Austria. It is only the 
pendant and counterweight of the provisions contained m 

* Pages 556 and 557 of the Budget for 187-1'. 

t Pages 558 and 559, idem. 

t See Table No. 5. 

§ Tables of these effectives hare been prepared by j'our Committee to serve as 
foundation for ealciilating the expenses to which the new organization may give rise. 
They fix at 100 men (120 including cadres) the minimum strenglli of the company 
of infantry on a peace footing ; at 106 horsemen (140 including cadres) that of the 
cavalry squadron ; and at 60 men (95 including cadres) that of the field battery of 
four guns. 

These tables will be annexed to the Bill which will be hereafter laid before you 
on the internal constitution of the corps. They will be more in place there than 
attached to a law on general organization. 


Article 40 of the Law on Recrmting-, Avliicli transferred from 
the Assembly to the Government the right of fixing what was 
called in our old legislation the " annual contingent," in other 
words, that part of the class Avhich had to serve five years. 

Moreover, it will have the advantage of putting an end to 
the number of half-yearly furloughs which are granted each 
year to soldiers for economical reasons and render instruction 

The reduction of the time with the colours resulting of 
necessity from the application of the new law on recruiting 
permits only, except in case of illness or convalescence, the 
granting of very short furloughs such as twenty to thirty days, 
and even this is not to be permitted during the first year of 

§ 10. — Troops for Reinforcement and Depots. 

We have just told you, gentlemen, that the annual grants 
for the budget permit us to maintain on the peace footing an 
army of 450,000 men, which we shall be able at the moment of 
war to increase to 780,000, but that would not be sufficient, for 
it is necessary not only to sustain a Avar, but to keep up the 
strength of the army by means of a reserve of men Avho have 
already acquired an amount of military instruction sufficing to 
ensure that then* successive incorporation in the ranks will not 
weaken the constitution of the regiments. 

The formation of the field army, 780,000 men, including the 
troops of Algeria, A\nll not employ all the resources in men 
placed at oin- disposal by the law of 27th July, 1872, and 
amountmg to 1,215,008.* 

The strength of the army on a peace footing, fixed at 
450.000 men, comprises all the interior services which must 
remam in time of war, to supply the field army Avith arms and 
material, and for the service of hospitals and other military 
establishments. It comprises also the permanent deficit of 
soldiers composed of men in hospital, in prison, &c. 

The number of these ineffectives for field service amounts 
to 126,000.1 This will give 126,000 men, the replacing ot 
Avhom in the field army is to be deducted fi'om the recruiting 
resources. If to this number we add 150,000 men of the last 
class, Avho cannot make part of the field army, we liaA^e a total 
of 276,000 men; this, deducted from the recruiting resources, in 
romid number 1,215,000, leaA^es only of the levies disposable for 
the formation of the field army 939,000. 

This army comprises, besides the permanent part numbering 
120,000 men, 660,000 of the levies. Subtracting this number 
from the 939,000 furnished by the law of recruiting, there 

* Table No. 2, annexed to this Report. 

t Page 25, Table of the Report upon the Eecruiting Law. 


remain 279,000, that is to say, a little more than one-third of 
the field army to constitute troops of reinforcement.* 

You will remark, gentlemen, that all these men at disposal 
and of the reserve of the active army, have served at least 
one year, and a certain number of them three, four, or five 
years ; they are therefore ready-made soldiers, who will be able, 
after a few weeks of exercises and manoeuvres, to take the 
field in a state of military instruction and education nearly 
equivalent to that of the efiectives with the fighting army. 
These men will be distributed in the corps depots with the 
150,000 men of the last class, who have not yet had sufiicient 
instruction, which will give us a total strength of 429,000 men, 
that is to say, enough to form at need a second army. 

Article 24 of the Bill mdicates in fact that they may bo 
formed into companies, battalions, squadrons, or batteries, and 
even into regiments if the exigencies of war require it. They 
constitute in the latter case what are called marching regiments. 
AVe aU know the just criticisms to which the formation of these 
regiments has given place. If these criticisms have been per- 
fectly justified, it is because nearly all the men of wliich these 
regiments were formed in 1870, and at later periods, were with- 
out military instruction, and above all, because their cadres were 
notoriously insufiicient. In the new organization it will no 
longer be the same, for when a regunent is to be formed there 
will be these means at disposal ; the cadres of the depot corps 
which can be doubled by the addition of officers who are at 
disposal or on half pay or holduig auxiliary brevets; non- 
commissioned officers and corporals from the reserve. 

In these cadres ^^dll be mcorporated men having all served 
from one to five years. They will be to the men of the 
last class in the proportion of two to one. 

11. Depots. 

We have spoken of depots in connection with troops of re- 
inforcement, it is now time to speak of their organization and 
the important part they are called upon to play in the mobiliza- 
tion of the army. 

We have the more reason for doing so, because the imperfec- 
tion of tliis organization was, in the war of 1870, one of the cliief 
causes of the delay made in the formation of our fighting 
army, and consequently, of our reverses. Thus, for instance, 
we see even now, regiments forming part of the army corps 
of Lyons, whose depots and stores are at Brian^on. As 
an administrative question, it is astonishing to see stores 
destined for the clothing and equipment of troops trans- 
ported at great expense to the summit of the Alps, in order to 

* Page 94, Table of the Keport upon tlic Eecruiting Law (deducting the corps 
of AJgiers). 


be loronglit down again at once to Grenoble and Lyons, wlien 
there are upon onr cliief railway lines at a sliort distance from 
Lyons, garrison towns with barracks nnoccupied. As a 
question of mobilization it is even more astonishing, for a man 
of the reserve being to-morrow called to rejoin, would be 
obJiged, as before 1870, to go to Brian9on to be equipped and 
armed, in order to come back and be incorporated at Lyons. 
Such a state of things can assuredly not be continued. We 
know that the Government has made praiseworthy efforts to 
connect the depots and stores as much as possible with the 
active battalions of their corps. But that is not sufficient, and 
your Committee think that the solution of the difficulty will 
be found by fixing in the territory all magazines, which will bo 
thus no longer corps magazines but garrison magazines, where 
the troops will find all that they require without difficulty and 
Avithout transport expenses. 

The garrison magazines will be filled from the general store 
magazines established in the districts of the Army Corps. 

The law on general administration will determine the 
method of manufacturing all articles of clothing, encampment, 
&c., that form part of general magazines. These are in this 
case only reserve magazines. The question is consequently 
completely reserved. 

To each body of troops is permanently attached a dejDot 
cadre, the composition and importance of which will be 
determined by the law upon the interior constitution of 

Your Committee, in agreement with the Government, do 
not permit corps to keep their supernumerary company nor to 
have workshops and magazines of their own. 

General magazines are established in the district of the 
regional Army Corps. From these magazines are filled the 
sub-divisional magazines placed with the bocUes of troops. 

From the subdivisional magazines the troops di'aw every- 
thing that they need. 

In whatever manner the articles stored in the general 
magazines are made, whether by industrial enterprise or by 
meaiis of civil and military Avorkmen m the workshops or 
magazines of the State, or by both these systems, iii what- 
ever manner the receiving of them is managed, which will be 
determined by the law of administration, the important point 
is, to free the corps from then- impedimenta, and to facilitate 
their mobility by fixing in each regional sub-division, magazines 
which cease to belong exclusively to any particular corps. 
They can then serve both the active and territorial army. 

Therefore companies, squadrons, batteries will no longer have 
only one worlcman of each profession for keeping everything 
in repair, nor corps only two or three workmen for great 

The possibility of rapidly renewing stores now offered by 
railways, mil make it unnecessary for the corps to take Avith 


tliem on campaigns more than such snpphes as they can 
always renew rapidly. 

One of the essential characteristics of tlio bill whicli is laid 
before you, is this separation of magazines from the b(jdies of 
troops ; stability given to the former and mobility gained by 
the latter. The sub divisional magazines, according to Article 3 
of the Bill of the Committee, are, in fact, exclusively regional 
establishments, without sj)ecial connection with such regiments, 
although placed near them. If the regiment changes its 
quarters, the magazines work in the same way for the one 
Avhich replaces it. 

If the active battalions are mobilized the depot companies 
which are permanent, existing in time of peace as in time of 
war, remain with the magazines and can be directed as we have 
said, in order to enrol men at disposal, and men of the reserve 
who are not incorporated in the lighting army, also men of the 
last class called, who have not yet received sufficient instruc- 
tion. This battalion assumes then a double character of battalion 
for reinforcement and for instruction. 

This organisation makes it possible to save, in time of peace, 
the fourth battalion proposed in the first Bill of the Govern- 
ment, without in any way altering the constitution of the 
fighting army. Besides the corps depots of which Ave have just 
spoken. Article 22 of the order of the 3rd May, 1832, upon 
service in the field, orders the formation for divisions and 
armies of minor depots, destined to serve as halting and meeting 
places for the detachments which are rejoining the army. 
They cUstribute to these detachments men who have become 
disposable, and in return receive from them men who have 
ceased to be so. They comprise, as much as possible, hospitals 
and convalescent establishments. 

The question of whether it would be wise to keep this 
organization has been given to your Committee to solve. It is 
to be observed that in the old organization, the j^rincipal corps 
depots were, in time of mobilization, to be moved to the base 
of operation of the army to places and gai'visons sufficiently 
Jar from the jjoiut of the operations of the army to insure that 
they should not be exposed to frequent changes of place* This 
is a measure of precaution winch gives the army time to 
evacuate its magazmes m case of retreat, but it has on the 
other hand a certain inconvenience. In case of an off"ensive 
movement, it places between the Army Corps and its depot, a 
distance greater in proportion as the offensive movement is 
more decided, and more difficult to traverse in proportion 
as the means of communication are more imperfect. Armies 
are then obliged to establish between them and their first 
bases of operations, an intermediary movable basis, which 
serves, as says the regulation, for a meeting and halting- 

* Article 20 of the Regulationa of 1832 upou service iu the liekl. 


It is at tills second basis, wliicli is in constant relations on 
the one side with the principal depots and, on the other with the 
corps, that the detachments sent by these depots to the army 
and received from it are assembled. 

At this second basis there is not generally, (because of its 
mobility), any permanent establishment, but the difficulty of 
transporting the sick and wounded to any great distances, 
makes it necessary to establish there sometimes temporary 
hospitals and convalescent depots. 

Then, if the army has taken from the enemy some important 
fortress or military post to keep or to defend, before advancing 
it establishes itself strongly upon these new lines, draws closer 
its base of operation, and establishes there its store and 
victualhng depots ; such is methodical war, in which the day's 
march of an army is generally ten to twenty kilometres ; but, 
since the invention of raihvays has made it possible to transport 
quickly, to great distances, masses of troops and material, the 
base of operation of the array can, without inconvenience, be 
established and kept much further back from the line of mihtary 

The experience of the last war has shown us that there is 
great danger in keeping the base too close ; an army exposes 
itself thus to lose its depots and magazines at- the very begin- 
ning of the hostiUties. Such a fate befelus at Metz, Strasbourg 
and Luneville, where we had massed the greater part of our 

To maintain the provisions of the law of 1832 scarcely 
seems necessary for our new organization; the creation of 
an etappen service, and the facilities offered for the transport 
of the sick by the establishment of railways and the appoint- 
ment of the special stores provided liy the society for the help 
of the sick and wounded, will make it possible to collect from 
each etappen establishment on the line of operations, the de- 
tachments and stores sent from the depots to the army, and vice 
versa ; also to transport the sick and wounded in a manner 
which seems to be satisfactory. 

But it is to be observed that the creation of minor depots arose, 
not only from the necessity to have relays behind the corps, but 
also from circumstances of war which can only be appreciated 
by the authorities in command. The authorities might examine 
if, in certain cases, this service ought to be amalgamated 
with the etappen service, though, as a principle, it must be 
maintained, even while detaching it from the hospitals and 
convalescent depots which might be a special service. 

Thus freed, the minor depots could follow more easily the 
movements of the army, which they relieve of a part of its 
impedimenta. If in particular cases they were amalgamated 
with the etappen service, they might Avork with it to cover, in 
the rear of the hne of military action, the heads of railway lines 
in the stations of which are collected, upon wheels, stores for a 
certain number of days for the Army Coi-ps that are operating 


in front. In case of retreat, they Avould protect tlio removal 
of these stores. Although troops of reinforcement seem specially 
intended, by their origin, each to fill the vacancies which occur 
in the regiment that recruits its regional subdivision, your Com- 
mittee thinks that the ties binding it to this regiment are not 
such as to prevent it, in case of need, sending men of its 
companies to any other regiment which has experienced very 
great losses. 

Foreseeing the natural objections which Commanders of 
corps might make if their reinforcement were taken from them 
to be sent to another corps, yom* Committee has thought it 
necessary to establish, formally in the law,* the principle that 
reinforcements, to whatever regions they belong, may be sent 
by detachments mdiflferently to any army corps, accorchng to 
the needs of these corps. The authorities in command will use 
this privilege whenever they judge it necessary. 

To this provision of Article 24, an objection has been made, 
which we must not pass over m silence. 

It is said that men for reinforcement thus distributed in corps 
where they are not known, and the cadres of which they do not 
know, will necessarily produce a weakness in the constitution 
of those corps, all the more dangerous^ because the infusion 
of a foreign element occurs at the very time when war 
has already weakened them. To these objections it may be 
replied : a corps suffers great loss in a battle ; the reinforcements 
belong to its regional subdivision; are for the moment very 
distant from it ; a new engagement is immment ; the neighbour- 
ing corps has not suffered, it has with it its reinforcements, which 
can, in a few hours, be incorporated with the weakened corps. 
Would it be wise, then, to neglect this means of help, and leave 
one part of the line of battle weakened^ rather than remforce 
it with strange elements, whose military instruction is quite 
sufficient to enable them to render good service ? AVhen two 
regiments have suffered, and both are disabled, is there ever any 
hesitation to join the men of one corps to those of the other, in 
order to form a new regiment, except such as springs from the 
doubt of being able later to make such a formation seem regular 
in the eyes of the Government ? No ; Avithout doubt, gentle- 
men, these practical considerations justify the dispositions pro- 
posed by yom* Committee in Article 24 of this Bill. 

§ 12.— Special Bodies placed under Arms. 

To the two categories — Fighting army, depot and rein- 
forcement troops — under which we have mdicated the distri- 
bution of the forces allotted to the composition of the army of 
the field, there is to be added a special supplementary force. 

Article G of the law upon recruiting has, in fact, foreseen the 
creation of organized armed corps making part of the army 

* Ai-ticle 2i. 


and submitted either to the Minister of War or tlie ]\Iinister of 
Marine and it has placed these corps nnder mihtary law. 

The first Bill of the Government* and that of the Com- 
mittee agree to give the executive power the right to au- 
thorise by Decree, but only in time of war, the formation of 
these special corps, imposing upon them all obligations of 
mihtary service, and subjecting them to the rules of inter- 
nation nl law. 

These articles ore introduced in order to prevent the return 
of imhappy misimderstun dings which occurred in the last war, 
during Avhich it is said tliat National Guards and Francs-tireurs 
were shot by the enemy, because our military laws had not 
given them the rights of belligerents. 

The proposals made to you by your Committee are more 
restricted than those of the first Government Bill, which im- 
posed no condition on the creation of these special corps. In 
this manner it Avould have become possible, at a given moment, 
to reconstitute, legally, the old National Guard now sujDpressed 
by a special laAv, and to authorise by a Decree the formation of 
those bands of foreign adventurers who have^ during all the 
worst epochs of our history, fallen upon France and, under pre- 
text of defending her, fi'equently subjected her to devastation 
and pillage. 

Your Committee proposes to you only to authorise the 
formation of these special corps during war, and when the men of 
whom they are formed have already belonged to services 
regularly organized in time of peace. 

Strangers who aspire to the honour of serving France can 
always do so in the Foreign Legion. 

The plan of your Committee is to comprise, mider the general 
heading of men belonging to organized services in time of 
peace, pupils in the Government schools, those in piivate or 
pubhc educational establishments, gardes champetres, forest- 
rangers, men in the service of the custom-houses, octrois. 

The fire brigades, in whose favour the law of June 27, 
1872, made an' exception by reason of the signal servdces they 
render and their daily proofs of devotion, engmeers, agents 
and men employed in bridge, road, and mine services, or 
in the departmental and municipal commission of public ways, 
light -keepers of our ports or coasts, clerks of the semaphores, 
engineers, guards, overseers, agents, and clerks in the railways 
and telegraph services, sailors in the training schools and, gene- 
rally, all men employed in corps constituted in time of peace. 
Armed bodies that may be organized by commanders or 
governors amongst the population in case of attack or siege, to 
relieve sentries, to help in the works of defence of these towns 
and places, are also to enjoy the privileges given to the 
special corps, and to be subjected to the same obligations. 

* Article 4-, Goverumeut Bill. 



After having slio^ai you, gentlemen, the most important 
organs of that complex machine called the army, there remains 
only to show you the worldng of it. 

The interior constitution of bodies of troops, exercises no 
great influence upon the general working of the military 
organism. The conditions of this working remain the same 
whether battalions are formed of 4, 6, or 8 companies, whether 
regmients of cavahy comprise 5, 6, or a greater number of 
squadrons, and those of artillery, 12, 14, or 16 batteries. That 
is merely an affair of strength and of cadres, — important with- 
out doubt, since it constitutes the chief element of the formation 
of the War Budget, — but not pressing upon our immediate 
attention in the statement of motives for a law of general 
organization. We shall return to it later, when we are occupy- 
ing ourselves with the interior constitution of the bodies of 
troops, and presenting the old and new organization either from 
a technical or jjecuniary point of view. 

Distribution and Incorporation of Contingents. 

The first act of the working of all military organization is 
the distribution and incorporation of the contingent among 
various corps of the army. Two methods of distribution have 
been laid before youi* Committee and discussed by it ; they are 
at the root of the system of organization itself. The first 
consists of incorporatmg in the same corps all young soldiers 
domiciled in the recruiting district corresponding to the corps. 
This is what is called the regional system. It is used for all 
German army corps except the Royal Guard, wliich recruits 
over the whole territory. 

The second consists of distributing indifferently among all 
corps of the active army, young men of the last class without any 
distinction of origin ; under this second system, which, m oppo- 
sition to the first, we will call the national system, is avoided 
even the incorporating of the men coming from the same de- 
partment two years running in the same corps. 

The defenders of the regional system, impressed perhaps too 
much by the events of the last war, do not sufficiently consider 
the nature of our pohtical institutions and our national character. 
Insphed by the example of Germany, they see nothing better 
than to copy the system to which they attribute the success of 
oui- adversaries. 

1st. — Historical. 

The system of regional recruiting is not new ; it existed under 
the old monarchy. At that time, if voluntary enlistments did 



not suffice, the army was completed by calling in the provincial 
militias, and the regiments they served to form took either the 
name of their province, their owner, or their chief. The organi- 
zation was in harmony with our political and administrative 
system, in which the provinces had a sort of autonomy, and it 
is not astonishing that the similarity of the political institutions 
of Prussia to this system should have led her to adopt the same 

Monarchy had accomplished national unity from a territorial 
point of view. The revolution accomplished it administra- 
tively and politically, by administrative centralization ; mihtary 
centralization was the consequence. Provincial raiUtias were 
suppressed and the laws of 1792-93 decided that army corps 
should for the future recruit over the whole territory. This 
organization continued during the period of our great wars. The 
regulations of 1815 which reorganized the army after foreign 
powers had demanded its disbanding, returned to the system of 
the old monarchy. The infantry was formed into 94 depart- 
mental legions bearing the names of the departments where 
they were organized. But, conscription having been abolished 
by Article 12 of the Charta, the departmental legions could not 
succeed in recruiting sufficiently by means of voluntary enlist- 

The regulations of 1815 did not sufficiently consider the 
great changes accomplished in our political and administrative 
organization, and were a military anachronism. 

In 1818 the law of Gouvion Saint-Cyr associated the national 
system with the regional. The national active anny re- 
cruited indiffiirently over the whole territory. The reserve only 
was regional and formed of departmental corps of veterans. 
However, the law of Gouvion Saint-Cyr was rather a law of 
recruiting than a law of general organization. 

The regulation of 25th October, 1820, returned to the prin- 
ciples of the law of year VI, by suppressing the 94 departmental 
legions to each of which the young sokhers of the department 
were still in practice exclusively allotted as a transitory measure. 
Since 1820 the young soldiers supplied by recruiting have been 
always indifterently distributed among all the corps of the active 
army ; and for that army the national system has prevailed. 

We find the same system in the organization of 18(58, where, 
in the spirit of the law of 1818, the regional system is apphed 
to the Guard Mobile while the active army recruits over the 
whole territory, but the former, corresponding m a measure to 
the Prussian Landwehr, was only considered by the projector 
of the law as an auxiliary or reserve to reinforce the active 
army. Like the veterans of the law of Gouvion Saint-Cyr it 
was not permanent, and we must not forget this side of its 
organization. Unfortunately for France death prevented the 
much-regretted Marshal Niel from carrying into practice the 
military organization of which he had laid the foundation, and 
which would perhaps have saved our country. The defenders 


of the two systems bring forward such serious reasons to support 
their opinions that your Committee have found it very diific-ult to 
decide without hesitation. Hesitation that has been all the 
greater because it has it has been shared by the most competent 
judges of military organization.* 

We are about to lay before you the pruicipal among these 

2nd. — District Syatem. 

The district system, say its defenders, is sanctioned by 
experience and by the authority of Prussia after a trial of more 
than 60 years. It has the advantage of offering greater facihties 
than any other to rapid mobihzation. When we gi-oup young 
men of the same pro\Tnce around the same flag, that flag 
becomes to them the steeple of their callage church transported 
to the camp, and, in a common danger, they learn to love it 
more and to defend it with still greater devotion. There is 
between young men who have been born on the same soil a 
kind of moral tie and a feeling of joint responsibihty favourable 
to the accomplishment of duty. When they return to their 
homes, any one who has offended mihtary honour and aban- 
doned liis comrades would be pohited out and, for the rest of 
his hte, laid mider the ban of the public opinion. 

Home thoughts are roused by tallvs at mess or in the 
bivouac. Absence is more bearable, and there is less home sick- 
ness. These remembrances increasing the energy of a young- 
soldier, raise also his moral tone ; for men of one bu-th-place 
exercise upon each other, even without knoAving it, a contrul 
which their life in common makes impossible for them to 
escape. And if the soldiers do not forget, neither are they 
forgotten. When the troubles and dangei'S of war come, their' 
families follow them in thought mto foreign lands, the village 
concerts together to come to then* aid and send some alleviation 
to the troubles" and suffering which the tenderness of mothers 
and sisters always exaggerates because the sufferers are far 
away. Between different corps on the battle-field springs up an 

* Mormont, " On the Spirit of Military Institvitions," page 250. " It remains 
" to be determined which is jji'eferable of these two systems ; to place in same regi- 
" ments recruits from the same country, or to distribute them to ditferent corps. 
" My opinion is in fayour of the first system." 

We read in the note on page 52 of the same work, that the Council of War in 1828 
considered this question. General Ambrugeac, one of the most distinguished olBicrs 
of the army, reporter of the infantry council, proposed a mixed system, which, 
creating an excellent reserve, solved the question in a perfectly satisfactory manner. 
General Moraud (" L'Armee Scion la Chart e," page 6 and following) proposed io 
recruit the army with young men from twenty to twenty-eight years old. After 
three years of service, considered by the General as sufEcient for the instruction of a 
soldier, to whatever arm he belongs, he is sent home, and may be recalled to active 
service. France would have, besides, 200,000 men of from twenty-nine to thu-ty-six 
years old organized by arms and battalions. 

A permanent cadre would be charged with keeping up the instruction of men of 
the active army who are in reserve in theii- homes ; they would be subjected to 
exercises, and organized in a legion of reserve for tl e active army by battalions, 
squadrons, and by districts. 

D 2 


emulation fruitful in military success. Finally, dangers shared 
under the same flag cause all differences of rank to disappear, and 
give birth between poor and rich to fi-iendships which continue 
in private life to the great profit of individuals and of society. 

From this last point of view, the regional system completely 
attains the end proposed by your recruitmg law when it pro- 
claimed the great and salutary principle of personal obhgation 
to military service for all citizens not exempted for physical 
or moral reasons. 

3rd. — Natio7ial System. 

Partisans of the national system reply that the military 
institutions of a country are only in a measure the corollary of 
its political institutions. They say that Prussia and Germany 
have been, and are still, but a collection of provinces working 
together as a whole, or of confederate States with independent 
Sovereigns and chstinct administrations. That with a political 
and admmistrative organization without centraHzation, a 
national centralized military organization would be out of 
place. That if the district system has incontestable advan- 
tages with regard to mobilization, all these advantages can be 
obtained to the same extent without injuring the unity of the 
active army, by a rational organization of the reserves destined 
to fill up the corps of this army. 

Then, is the advantage of receiving young men from the 
same district into the same corps really as great as it is said to 
be ? The men of one regiment, of one battalion, of one company, 
even though recruited in the same country, do not necessarily 
know each other. The people of one canton only occasionally 
know those of the neighbouring canton ; they have often no 
connection with them, either of business or pleasure ; if they meet 
sometimes, it is on a fair-day or at market. If, between the 
commune of the same cantons, interests are closer and connec- 
tions more frequent, interests are sometimes opposed and con- 
nections not always good. What becomes, then, of the advan- 
tages of the joint responsibility attributed to district recruit- 
ing ? For these advantages to be really great, the recruiting 
must be communal instead of by districts, for it is only in the 
same commune that there is real community of interests. Only 
in the same commune do children meet together every day at 
church to receive religious instruction, i*i the same village street 
to share the same games, on the benches of the same school to 
learn to read and write. Beyond the limits of the commune it 
cannot be said that any real bonds between the men of 
the contingent exist. Besides, these advantages, if they exist 
to the extent generally supposed, can still be obtained in a 
very large degree by incorporating into one corps the reserves 
from one district when, at the moment of mobilization, they 
come to double their force. 

Do Ave not attach a somewdiat exaggerated importance to 


district recruiting? In the contrary system are to be f(jund 
very real advantages. 

Independently of dividing the losses in case of misfortune' 
among the wlioJe national territory, instead of throT\dng all the 
families of one district into mourning ; we find in the svstem of 
national recruiting this advantage. It draws closer the bonds 
of French unity, and gives to our troops a more uniform 
bravery and solidity. The army ought to be one and national 
like the nation itself. Otherwise, it no longer expresses the 
nation. Norman and Breton must march beside Basque and 
Provencal ; from the fusion of these various elements will 
be obtained bodies of troops in which the qualities of indi- 
viduals will counterbalance and complete each other. In 
face of these opposed but equally serious arguments, your 
Committee would have hesitated, gentlemen, before it proposed 
to you to distribute the annual contingent indifferently among 
all the corps of the active army, if it had not found itself on 
this point in perfect accord Avith the Government, and if it had 
not been led to this decision by particular considerations which 
it was impossible not to take into account. 

Since the revelations of the inquiry into the acts of the 
Government of the 4th of September, and the separatist ten- 
dencies then brought to light, it cannot but be doubted whe- 
ther provincial spirit can be trusted with the maintenance of 
French unity; and the terrible events of 1871 were not of a 
nature to lesson this legitimate doubt. It was not possible 
under such conditions to think of forming each of our army 
corps out of elements drawn exclusively from the same district. 
The national system therefore forced itself on your Com- 
mittee, at lea^ for the recruiting of the active army, as a 
necessity of our present situation and as the consequence of 
our political constitution and of our national unity which we 
must guard at all cost. 

But, while not proposing you to adopt for the recruiting of 
the active army, a district system which would expose us to 
dangers not to be disregarded, your Committee think that 
France must not be deprived of the incontestable advantages 
which this system presents for the rapid mobilization of the 
army ; they propose to you, therefore, to adopt a mixed system, 
which makes it possible to avoid the disadvantages and to 
realize the advantages of both the others. Under this system, 
the corps of the active army receive their recruits indifferently 
from all parts of the national territory, and complete their 
strength at the moment of mobilization by the incorporation of 
the men at disposal* and of the reservef of the active army, 
domiciled in the territorial region where these corps are gar- 
risoned. To this end, men, who have served in the ranks 
of the active army the time required by the law, and then 
returned to their homes, are, on their arrival, enrolled by care of 

* Article 42 of the Recruit iug Law. t Article 43 of the same law. 


the cliief of tlie recruiting office in the nearest corps to their 
place of domicile, and, if possible, in a regiment of the arm with 
which they have already served. 

For each of the corps of the region a special Hst is kept of 
these registered men. A copy of this list is given to the 
corps, so if the corps changes garrison, it has nothing to do but 
give the list to the corps that replaces it. As barrack accom- 
modation makes it necessary for garrisons to be invariably 
allotted to corps of the same arm, every man of the reserve 
knows thus the place where he is to go in case of recall, and 
is not obliged to trouble himself about any changes of gamson 
which may take place between the corps. This arrangement 
gives great mobihty to bodies of troops without in any way 
affecting rapichty of mobilization. 

The system indicated in Article 11 of the Bill we have the 
honour to submit to you is not new. It is found in the pro- 
positions made by General dAmbrugeac to the chief council of 
war in 1828,* and m the writings of General Moraud.f 

Your Committee regretted not to see the proposals for it 
republished in the first Bill laid before you by the Government. 
They felt great satisfaction m coming to an agreement with 
the Government on this point, for it may be said that all the 
force of the BiU is m Article 11, and that the adoption or rejec- 
tion of this Article implies necessarily the adoption or rejection 
of the Bill itself, all the remainder being only of secondary im- 
portance compared with the i-apithty of mobilization wliich is 
the chief object of our new miHtary organization. 

§ II. — Mobilization. 

Everyone was struck by the rapidity T\dth which the Gennan 
army from the beginnmg of the war invaded our territory, 
with very superior forces that enabled him to manoeuvre 
round oiu* scarcely formed armies, to suiTOund them, and anni- 
hilate them before they had collected thoir forces and stores. 

We have naturally been led to think, says the expose des 
motifs of the first Bill presented by the Government, that 
rapidity of mobilization depends upon keeping soldiers, officers 
and Generals close to each other and to their stores, so as to be 
ready to march on the first order. 

* "Manuscript Eeports of the Sittings of the Chief Council-of- War," pages 121 
to 142. Sitting of April 1, 1828, see note to page 75 of the " Eeport upon the Ee- 
" cruiting Law" of M. le Vicomte de Chasseloup-Lauhat (" Archives de la Gruerre"), 

t " A'Armee d'api'es la Charte," page 7 and following : — 

The active army, composed of soldiers recruited from all parts of the territory, 
only retains the men with the colours for three years, after which they are sent to 
their homes, where they are organised in legions according to their departments, 
and in battalions or squadrons according to their arrovdissejnents, in order to be 
drilled as battaUons every three months, and to be mauceuvred as legions twice a 
year. In case oT mobilization, the regiments of the active army will receive no more 
recruits. The recruits are carried to the war account, with the soldiers drawn from 
the legions in which the recruits are placed to receive instruction. 

A soldier belonging to a legion need not necessarily, in case of recall, be sent to 
a regiment where he received his instruction. To spare the expense and time of 
travelUng, he may be sent to the nearest regiment. 


The Government considered that tliis view was a mistaken 
one. It recognised readily that the proximity of all the 
elements for the formation of army corps and ai-mies, might 
have had sometliiiig to do with the rapid mobilization of the 
German army, but it considered that the true reason of this 
promptitude was to be found in the pre-existence of an 
organization constantly maintained, incessantly exercised and 
provided with all its war material? What the Government 
considers to be hurtfal to rapidity of mobilisation in our army 
of 1870, was not that a man residing at Marseilles was obliged 
to come fi'om thence to Verdun or Chalons in order to rejoin 
his corps, which after all is but a small loss of time since the 
creation of railways, but that when that man arrived at his 
destination he did not find there a corps alread}^ formed — 
brigades and divisions constituted with their staffs, then ad- 
ministrative, and auxiliary services, and then- stores.*' 

The Government considers the difficulty was not the massing 
of the men, but the want of previous organization. According 
to its view, it mattered little whether men of the reserve had to 
travel ten leagues or 150. 

Your Committee could not share this sentiment to which the 
experience of facts gives no sanction. If we turn to months 
July and August of 1870, and examme the official documents 
we find that the brigades and divisions of the Army of the 
Rhine had been already estabhshed and concentrated; that 
the army corps themselves were organized and provided with 
their various ser\dces, if not completely, at least in part ; that 
the operations of war were in full activity and that we had 
been already beaten at Wissenbourg, Froeschviller and 
Spicheren, before oui- reserves were able to join the corps to 
which they belonged. 

It cannot then be said that the want of a previous formation 
in brigades, divisions, and army corps was the cause of the 
delay of the mobilization of the army in 1870. We must look 
elsewhere for the causes, and we find then, independently of 
the confusion existmg between mobilization and concentration, 
which should be two distinct operations, the former always 
preceding the latter. 

First. In the excessive centralization of the IMinister of War, 
from whom all orders necessarily came, and whose offices kept 
the command m strict tutelage, and allowed it no initiative 
in the preparations. 

Secondly, In the insufficiency of the recruiting service 
which had but one centre of mobilization in the capital of the 
department and took no less than 14 days to send off 163,000 
men of the reserve, not to their corps but to its depot. 

Thirdly. In the obligation imposed on a man of the reserve, 
living for instance at Strasbourg, whose corps is already con- 
stituted in brigades and divisions in that town, to go to the 

* Page 11, Goverument Bill. 


depot of his regiment at Bayonne, there to get his clothing, 
equipment and arms, and then to come back to Strasbourg. 

Fourthly. In the difficulty of dispatcliing orders to 5,000 or 
0,000 individuals through the complex channels of the hierarchy; 
of starting these men off separately, without organization, 
without direction, without chiefs ; above all the difficulty ot 
keepmg them together and making them arrive at their des- 
tination. And it must not be thought a matter of indifference 
whether they travel 10 leagues or 150 leagues. Experience 
has sufficiently demonstrated the contrary, and the opinion of 
your Committee upon this point is confirmed by that of the 
Marquis Latour Maubourg, who in his report to the King, upon 
the organization of the French army, October 23rd, 1820,* 
expresses himself as follows : — " The constant call to service 
" of young soldiers of different classes gives occasion for con- 
" siderable expense by the necessity of sending them to the 
" legion of their departmentf which is often stationed at a 
" great distance, whereas it would be easy to distribute them 
" among the corps stationed in the military division to which 
" their department belongs. Experience proves on this point 
" that by diminishing the distances to be traversed by young 
" soldiers in order to join their corps, Tve obtain, besides a 
" reduction in the expenses, the advantage of fewer deserters." 

The first of the causes to which we have attributed the 
slowness of mobilization in our army may be lessened by modi- 
fjdng the duties and powers of the Minister of War, and trans- 
ferring to the Generals commanding the army corps, part of 
the authority and the duties still centralised in his office. 

Generals commanding army corps invested with more 
extensive powers may be made res^^onsible for the instruction, 
discipline and administration of the troops placed under their 
command, as well as for those measures whose object is to 
ensui-e rapidity of mobilization. And in whose hands can the 
care of preparing troops for war be better placed than in those 
of the general officers who are to command them in war, and 
whose mihtary honour is staked upon then* thorough preparation. 

By organizing and multiplying centres of mobilization, 
and by detaching magazines from corps, the slowness of mus- 
ters will be remedied, and magazines and recruiting offices 
win be put within reach of the men of the reserve. The 
third and most grave cause of delay in mobilization will be 
done away with by fixing in garrison towns tlie magazines of 
the corps ; the magazines will thus become regional establish- 
ments and will no longer belong especially to one regiment. 

Fixed in a garrison these magazines will supply indifferently 
all regiments of the same arm that succeed each other there. 
The corps fi-eed from their imjyedimejita "will be rendered more 

* Official Military Journal, tlie first half year, 1820, page 168. 
+ Legions were recruited exclusively with men domiciled in the region where 
they had been formed, aud of which they bore the name. 


moHle, and the Treasury will be spared a great expense of 

Thus, men of the reserve when they are recalled will find 
with their corps everything necessary for equipment wnthout 
any loss of time, and it Avill no longer be necessary to detach 
transport cadres to receive them and transport them to their 
corps, smce the corps will be on the spot. 

It was proposed to the Committee to continue to attach 
magazines to their corps as they are at present, in order that 
the corps might be considered responsible for the magazmes, 
and transfer them to the next corps succeeding them in the 
garrison ; this transfer was a very great, and Avliat is more, 
a completely useless complication. Your Committee think 
that this transfer was not free from inconveniences, and it 
seems to them, that the authors of the proposition had not suffi- 
ciently considered the number and variety of objects in store, 
which, with the increase of the number of soldiers, would 
render the transfer of these magazines very long and veiy 
difficult, and might lead to incessant quarrels between the 
different corps. 

For this reason yoiu- Committee do not propose to you 
to accept this system, any more than that which consists 
of fixing the corps themselves in their garrisons with their 
magazines, according to the system in use in Germany, 
We have already shown you the inconvenience of such a 
plan. Whatever organization we may decide to adopt for 
the depots of troops, it seems to us impossible, remembei-ing 
the events of the late war, to keep, with effectives three times 
as great as those we had to mobilize in 1870, a system of 
mobilization that was our ruin and the chief difficulty of the Bill 
presented by the Government. 

This system you know, gentlemen, consists in recalhng a 
man of the reserve, wherever he may he living, to the corps m 
which he has already served, wherever it may he stationed. 
That is to say, a man hving at Antibes will join his regiment 
at Dunkirk, while one of his comrades living at Dunkirk ^^nW. 
join at Antibes. Himdreds of thousands of cases of this ex- 
pensive and useless chasse-croise constantly occur, and you 
might see again trains full of men crossing each other in every 
direction from one end of France to the other, arriving often 
at their place of destination when the corps to which they 
belonged had already left it, then ol)liged to fi)lIow this corps 
to find it perhaps beaten, in retreat, or invested in a fortress 
where they could not rejoin it. 

These are not suppositions, gentlemen, they are facts made 
famihar to us all by the last campaign.* Besides the loss of 

* The 26th regiment of the line, which belonged to the 6th corps of the army of 
the Rhine, had to draw the greater part of its reserve from tlie department of the 
Moselle, the latter had been sent to the depot of this regiment at Chorbourg, there 
to get to tlieir habiliments, equipments, and arms ; they were afterwards dispatched 
to Metz, where the greater part did not arrive till after the investment of the place. 


time it necessitates, tliis system of mobilization, under wWch 
men set out separately from their homes, presents another 
great danger. These men, "without surveillance and without a 
chief, produce disorder and indisciphne everywhere on the 
journey and m their corps when they reach it. It is difficult 
to keep them on their road, and as M. Latour Maubourg has 
so well said, to make them arrive surely at their destination. 
The rapid collection together of men is not the only thing 
necessary for mobilization, but this rapidity is one of its most 
essential elements and that sul)ject to the greatest number 
of accidents. An accident to the railway Hne, to a bridge, 
an insufficient number of carriages, may stop the service of the 
line — men isolated or without chiefs to keep them together 
disperse, tune is lost in getting them together again, trains 
succeed each other, the line is encumbered, and no fui'ther 
progress can be made.* 

Unfortunately all our railway Hues have not double tracks, 
there are changes of line and stoppages, and the greater the 
traffic the greater the loss of time. Is it not then more logical, 
and at the same time more practical and less expensive, to 
incorporate men beforehand in the corps nearest to their place 
of residence ? With the system proposed to you by your Com- 
mittee, men of the reserve are mustered at the centres of 
mobilization of the sub-division in which they live. To join, 
they have but a short distance to go. They find there the 
corps to which they belong, they are immediately incorporated, 
they receive their clothing, equipment, and arms from the 
magazine of the garrison. And if when they were dispersed to 
their homes, they left their arms and knapsacks at that 
magazine, they find them there again and receive them back. 
Thus, whether their kits become the property of the men, and 
are kept for them in the magazine during the time that they 
spend in theu' homes, or whether the kits, if the men have 
not served their regulation time, are given to others, the 
proposed system of mobilization is exactly the same in both 
cases. In one case as in the other, what is of real importance 
is that there is no loss of time. 

Besides, men of the reserve have already been recalled for 
manoeuvres at the epochs fixed by the recruiting law or by minis- 
terial decisions. Mobilization is thus for them only a repetition 
of a movement they have already executed several times and 
in which, therefore, there can be no difficulty. Distances 
being much reduced, chances of accident and disorder are 

Finally there is more certainty that the men of the reserve 
shall join then- corps. 

The corps being mobilized, can be sent in order to the 

* The P. L. M. Company informed the Minister ofWar, after the 9th of August, 
1870, that the line was so encumbered it could no longer undertake the work of 
transport further than Besancjon. 


points of concentration indicated beforehand. The spirit of 
order is, unfortunately, not one of the attributes of our national 
character, and it is all important to us to prevent, at the 
moment of taking the field, a disorder we can never stop 
when once it is introduced into our camp. This disorder we 
saw in 1870, and we should certainly see again. 

One of the most serious arguments adduced in support of 
the maintenance of the old state of things, is the advantage 
of sending a man back to the C(^rps in which he has already 
served, where he wall find his old commanders and comrades 
whom he knows and by whom he is knoAvn. We recognise at 
once that this is a great advantage. It would have been 
attained by adopting completely the district system of Ger- 
many, and we sho^^ld not have hesitated to propose it to you 
if the considerations we have had the honour to submit to you 
had not dissuaded us. We must not, however, exaggerate this 

Taking into consideration chances of advancement, the 
method generally adopted of making officers change from one 
corps to another when they are promoted, and the short 
duration of service, it is probable that, after having been for 
some yea,rs away from a corps, a man would no longer turd, 
when he returned to it, any of his old comrades. 

Such is the opinion of your Committee, and they are 
strengthened in it, by the opinion of General Morand, who 
expresses himself as follows on this subject :* — 

" A soldier admitted into a legion need not necessarily, in 
*' case of recall, be sent to the regiment in which he received 
" his education. He may be sent to any other designated by 
" the Minister, and to spare the expense and time of travelling 
" to the regiment nearest to the region in which he lives." 

It must not be forgotten also that men dismissed to remain 
at disposal, or to the reserve of the active army, are submitted 
to reviews and to exercises, prescribed by a ministerial regulation, 
or subjected during their time of service in the reserve, to take 
part in two manoeuvi'es, each of which may last four weeks. f 

Men being, on tlieii- return to their homes, enrolled in one 
of the corps of the region to which they belong, "udll join this 
corps in case of manoeuvres. They will not therefore be 
strangers to each other. According to the first plan of the 
Government, on the contrary, these musters and these ma- 
noeuvi-es, so important for keeping alive a military spirit 
among the members of the reserve, while they are at the same 
time exercises in mobilization, could not take place without 
costing the Treasury heavy travelling expenses. Hence it is 
almost certain they would have been given up. 

We have, gentlemen, laid side by side before you two 
systems of mobilization, one proposed by the fii'st Government 

* " L'Armee Selon la Charte," page 46. 

t Articles 42 and 43 of the Recruiting Law, 


Bill, the other by your present Committee and the Minister of 

Having shown you the reasons that have made us give 
preference to the latter, we must now show you its action. 
After having served his time in the active army, a soldier, 
whether dismissed to be at disposal, or to the reserve of the 
active army, ceases to belong to the corps in which he has 
served,* no matter to what arm he belongs. 

He is sent to the depot of the regional sub-division of the 
district in which he wishes to establish his home. On his 
arrival he is enrolled by the recruiting service in one of the 
corps of the region, and, if possible, in a corps of the arm 
in which he has served; he receives a paper, mforming him 
of the garrison and the corps he is to join in case of mobiliza- 
tion, or for the manoeuvres; if convenient, he leaves his kit 
and equipment at the magazines, then returns to his home. 

As soon as they receive their recalling order, the men 
recalled go separately to the corps and place of garrison 
indicated to them, never very far from their place of resi- 
dence. They there find the battalion, squadron, or battery, 
in which they have been enrolled. There they receive their 
clothing, equipment and arms, — new, if the resources of the 
magazine allow of it, — otherwise they receive back again the 
kit and equipment they left there when they returned to their 
homes. We have already pointed out that the magazines of 
the regional sub-divisions, or their branch establishments, do 
not belong especially to any regiment or any battalion, l)ut 
that they are, on the contrary, regional establisliments, work- 
ing as centres of mobilization independently of the regiments. 
Hence, a regiment can change garrison without obliging the 
men of its reserve to rejom. Thus we escape unnecessary loss 
of time, and avoid falling into the vice of the old system of 
mobilization, which obliged a man to go to the depot of his 
corps for his equipment and arms before he could rejoin. Here 
the depot, the magazine, and the corps, are united in the same 
place, the magazine alone being fixed. This system may be 
reproached with not insuring that a man of the reserve shall 
be enrolled in the regiment Avith which he has served during 
one or two manoeuvres, for the corps may have quitted the 
garrison and been replaced by another corps of the same 
arm a few months or even a few days before the issue of 
order for mobilization. True, but changes of garrison will 
be less frequent than they used to be; they will only take 
place exceptionally, and for reasons determined by the com- 
mander of the army corps. . It Avill be most probable that 
members of the reserve will find the corps with which they 

* Article 43 of Recruiting Law. It is understood that if he has served in one 
of the corps of the region where he lives, which happens very frequently to men of 
the second part of the contingent, who liave only six months or a year to serve in 
the active army, he will continue on the strength of the regiment in which he has 


have already served still in tlie same garrison, and were it 
otherwise, we must not attach too great consequence to their 
not doing so. What is really important is, that in mobilization 
not a moment shall be lost. 

It may also happen that a region in consequence of its 
topographical configuration, the nature of its soil and of its 
pojDulation, may not be able to finnish all the reserve necessary 
to the mobilization of the brigades of cavalry or of artillery of 
its army corj^s, and that it may be obliged to borrow part of 
the reserve of these two arms fi'om the neighbouring regions 
where perhaps they are in excess. Here we have one of the 
reasons that have made the Prussian regional system seem to 
your Committee not entirely applicable to France. In a case ot 
this kind members of the reserve who exceed the requirements 
of the army corps of their region "svill be enrolled by tlie recruit- 
ing office of their district, not in corps of their district but in 
the nearest regiment of their arm belonging to the neighbouring 
army corps. The recruiting services of the two army corps 
will arrange the matter together. 

Foreseeing these accidents, the difference between the 
strength of the peace and war footmg of the cavalry and 
artillery is less than that of the other arms. 

We have tried to facilitate the mobilization of these corps 
by incorporating a smaller number of reserve at the moment of 
mobilization, hoping thus always to be able to find enough in 
each region. 

Your Committee would not have hesitated to propose to 
maintain the cavalry always on a war footing if the expense 
had not been too great, and if what was spent in this manner 
Avould not have had the consequence of reducing the peace 
effective of the infantry, already so weak. Rapidity of mobi- 
lization is indeed more important for cavalry than for any 
other arm, for it must be immediately sent to the extreme 
front, in order to cover the operations of mobilization, recon- 
noitre the army that is forming, keep close to the enemy to 
pick up information of his preparations, and, above all, to 
prevent his scouts from penetrating into our own coiTntry. 

It is only when the mobilization of the active army is com- 
pleted that the depot cadres of the corps are increased by means 
of officers at disposal on the rethed list, on half-j)ay, or auxiliary, 
and of non-commissioned officers or corporals of the reserve, and' 
divided so as to officer the men who, remaining in excess after 
mobilization, constitute troops of reinforcement. It is also in 
these depots that the mstruction of the last class called in is 
continued, and that of men exempted from service, but liable to 
be called in vu-tue of Article 26 of recruiting law, is begun. 

It may be objected to the permanent maintenance of a 
depot cadre in infantry corps, that if, as seems rational, the 
Minister distributes, druing peace, all soldiers of the last 
class among the active battalions, in order to leave the care 
and responsibility of instructing their men to the commanders 


of companies, equadi'ons, or batteries, the cadre will have 
nothing to do. 

This wonld be a mistake, for, independently of the branches 
of instruction that may be confided to it as well as to active 
companies, the cadre can be used for can-ying out the provjsions 
of paragraph 2, Article 42, of the recruiting law, which subjects 
men at disposal to be reviewed and exercised. Part of these 
cadres, in the capitals of cantons, in the regional sub-divisions, 
might even be detached (as some officers beg) without too 
much expense, for a certain time at that part of the year when 
agricultural work presses least, in order to give some fii-st 
instruction close to their own homes, to young men who are 
dispensed from service, but bound to undergo certain exercises 
by Article 25 of the law on recruiting. 

The detailed provisions of the Bill of your Committee ofier 
the means of carrying out all the dispositions of the law on 

Requisitions and Damages in case of Mobiijzation and 

It is readily understood that it would be as impossible to 
keep up during peace the full number of horses and carts for 
the service of the Army as it would be to keej) up the full 
strength of men without ruining our budget. 

It has therefore seemed necessary to the Government and 
to your Committee to take such measm^es as will ensm-e the 
recruiting of horses and carts at the moment of the mobilization 
of the Army.* 

A preliminary census of private horses, mules, and carts 
seemed the simplest method of providing for it. This plan, in 
use in Germany,! is just, and the stipulation of an indemnity 
brings it into harmony with our laws, which obhge every French- 
man to sacrifice his property when public interest requires it. 

By this means it will be possible to reduce, to a very great 
extent, the number of horses and mules for the active Army 
dming peace ; tliis plan seems better than the present one, 
by which the horses and mules belonging to the State are 
placed under the charge of farmers in order to free the budget 
of war from the cost of their keep. These animals are certainly 
not so w^ell taken care of as if they belonged to the farmers 
themselves. In case of death the State bears the loss, xmless 
there is any gross fault on the part of the person with whom 

* The army requires, in order to pass from a peace to a war footing, 175,000 horses 
for aU arms. No census having been yet made, it is impossible to know if the method 
proposed by the committee will provide them all. We may, however, hope that it 
will, for the Prussians have already made this census in the yielded provinces, and 
they have found that the one-seventh part of the horses would be sufficient for their 

t On the 30th of last May the Reichstag voted a Law in 34 Articles upon eveiy 
kind of assistance to be furnished by the country in time of war. (See "Revue 
" MiUtaire de I'Etranger," Fo. 106 of 16th June). 


the horse is phiced. The State also suffers by the diminution 
of value made in this capital by each year's work. It would 
only seem wise to maintain the present system for a strength 
reduced to Avhat is strictly necessary for the manoeuvres which 
are to take place every year. The partial mobilization required 
for them would not authorise the application of the requisitions 
made legal by Article 13 of the Government Bill, and Article 25 
of that of the Committee. Although thus limited, the right of 
requisition given to the Government by the law of organization 
has raised objections on the part of some of our colleagues, 
who are justly pre-occupied with the interests of the agricul- 
tural population to whom draught or pack horses are the instru- 
ments of then- w^ork. These gentlemen feared, at first, that in 
consequence of the pro\asions of Article 34 of the Recruiting 
Law, proprietors, in case they wished to sell their animals, 
would be obHged to declare the fict, which would bs a restric- 
tion to commerce, and perhaps injure the breeding and raising 
of horses. 

They asked if the animals would be enrolled beforehand in a 
particular corps, Hke the men, as was suggested by the first 
Bill of the Government and by the first edition of that of the 
Committee. They observed, that in this case the apphcation of 
the law would be made impossible by the difficulty of keeping- 
registers of enrolment, in consequence of the constant movement 
of the animals from one place to another. In order to satisfy 
these well-founded objections, your Committee intend it to be 
understood that the declaration of change of place, however 
desirable it may be, shall not be obHgatory upon the proprie- 
tors, who vnll remain perfectly free, as before, in commercial 
transactions. They will be bound by no other obligation than 
that of facilitating a census made by military authority, because 
the census made for the establishment of the assessment of the 
tax upon horses and carriages would not be sufficient. It is neces- 
sary for the military authority to know and note down, not only 
the number but also the size and form of the horses, and their 
aptitude for the various services of the Army, as well as the de- 
scription of carriages, and the services for which they are most fit. 

Article 13 of the Government Bill and Article 30' of that of the 
Committee agree m giving the Government right of requisition 
on condition of indemnity. A first edition of the Bill added to 
the word " indemnity," those of " equal to their value." These 
words have disappeared in the final edition, for the law only 
means to give to the owner of a fancy horse requisitioned for 
the service, an indemnity representing what the State would 
have paid for the horse, and not the fancy price which its owner 
may fix upon it. Though the owner may have paid 3,000 
or 4,000 francs for the horse, the indemnity will be fixed at 
1,200 francs, if this last figure is the price given by the State 
for horses of the same arm as that for which this animal is 

The Bill of the Committee, going still fm-ther, proposes that 


the fixing of the price and the payment shall be decided by an 
order of public administration. Some members of the Com- 
mittee have expressed fears as to the legality of this arrange- 
ment. Considering the right of requisition as a veritable right 
of appropriation, they had expressed an opinion that this right 
can only be given to the Government by a special law. 

Our reply to the objection is, that the right of requisition is 
nothing new in our country. Always, during war, the armies 
have had recourse to requisition, and Article 15 of the Order of 
the 3rd of May, 1832, upon Service in the Field, invests Gene- 
rals commanding armies or army corps with the right of 
making requisitions in kind eveii upon French terriitory. 

The law of April 29th, 1792, determmes the method of 
these requisitions and the payment of the indemnities to 
be granted to the proprietors of the requisitioned horses and 

We should, however, remark that the pro^dsions of this law 
apply more particularly to temporary requisitions, and that 
they bear more the character of hiring by contract than of pur- 
chasing. Nothing, however, in the law of 1792 limited the 
duration of the hiring, and it was in the power of the military 
authorities to retain the things hii-ed. For the proprietors, 
thus left in uncertainty, this discretionary power was certainly 
more severe than an actual deprivation, which would have 
enabled them to return home, bearing with them an indemnity 
always calculated on a liberal scale. 

But the law of the 29th of April was not executed without 
great opposition. Proprietors declared that only military autho- 
rity was invested with the right of requisition, and they refused 
to comply with requisitions made upon them, in its name, by 
the civil powers of a district. 

The resistance was so great that a new law, of the 24th 
of June, had to be issued in the same year, to smooth the 
difficulty. _ ■ 

We have told you, gentlemen, that the application of the 
law of the 29th of August, 1872, gave rise to some difficulties. 
You will easily understand what might be the consequences of 
legal resistance, at the moment of mobilization, if as in 1792, 
a new law were necessary in order to surmount them. Your 
Committee think that the Government and military authority 
must now be strongly armed, and must be permitted, without 
having recourse to assemblies, to explain or change anything 
that may be obscure or uncertain in the dispositions in force. 
These dispositions, if you agree with us in this matter, vnW. 
be imposed by an order of public administration, till a BiU can 
be submitted to your consideration. 

Your Committee recognize, however, that the same con- 
siderations of urgency cannot be brought forward in support of 
the dispositions of Article 28 of the Bill, which give to an 
order of public administration the care of deciding the 
method of valuing the damage done to properties by the man- 


oeuvres of the troops, as well as the payment of indemnities duo 
to the OAvners. 

The dispositions seem, indeed, to bear upon the general 
principles laid down by the law of 3rd May, 1841, upon ap- 
propriation and npon the special case foreseen by the law of 
March 30th, 1831, relative to temporary occupation, in case of 
m'gency, for military Avorks — an outrage which, at first sight, 
doss not seem sufiiciently justified, either by m-gency or by 
considerations of public benefit, since Ave are noAV in perfect 

But he who desires the end must not reject the means. 
With the formalities insisted upon by the present laws, 
manoeuvres are impossible. Our German neighbours have per- 
fectly understood this, and the dispositions we propose to you 
to adopt ha\'e been borrowed from them. They have apphed 
them in the manoeuvi'es executed by then- troops, near Keims, 
upon land of great A^alue, and the OAvners have had no cause of 
complaint. It seems, also, better for these proprietors to be 
indemnified forthA\'ith, than to proceed before the conseils de 
prefecture for the regulation and pajmient of the damage 
suffered by theh land, and go thi'ough formalities affordmg, 
perhaps, better protection, but more slowly, and, aboA^e all, 
at a greater cost. 

Experience will shoAV the cost of these new proceedings, 
and, if it can be decided by legislatiA^e arrangement, an order of 
public administration Avill make no difficulty. 

According to the statement laid before you, you see, 
gentlemen, that the plan of miUtary organization Ave have had 
the honour to submit to you, rests upon tln-ee principal bases : — 

1st. Preparation. 

2nd. Distribution of recruits in gi'oups, and the reunion of 
these groujis under one initiatory force, Anz. : — The 
Command, — bound to insure their military efficiency by 
training and their material existence by administration. 

3rd. Finally, a mobilization Avhicli enables the army, at any 
giA^en moment, to increase its strength rapidly from the 
minimum made necessary by economy in the time of 
peace, to the maximum of power needful for Avar. 

These three great divisions we shall find in the drawing up 
of the Bilk 


After having, under the first head, provided for preparation 
by organizing the territory into regions and subdiA^sions of 
of regions, the Bill, imder Head II, defines the Command and 

The organization haAmig been roughly sketched. Head III 
regulates its action by treating of incorporation and mobiliza- 



tion. Head IV relates to the organization of the territorial 
army. Head V comprises detail and transitory arrangements. 


§ 1st. Division of Territory. — Composition of Army Corps. 

Article 1 of the Bill divides the territory of France into 18 
regions, and each of these regions into a certain number of sub- 
divisions. The duty of carrying out these divisions is left to 
the Government. They will be determined according to the 
recruiting resources, and the exigencies of mobilization, by an 
order of public administration. 

The working of our recruiting 8er\acc is based upon depart- 
mental cu-cumscription. In fixing the limits of military regions, 
we must then avoid, as much as possible, cutting up one 
depai-tment or dividing it between several regions, in order that 
we may not complicate connections, nor place the recruit- 
ing service under several commanders. The thing seems 
possible, because as the formation of the fighting army does not 
absorb all our recruiting resources at the moment of mobili- 
zation, the surplus may famish means of equalizing the 
strength of the fighting corps of the same region ; the troops of 
reinforcement alone being unequally supplied. It is, of com'se, 
understood that, when particular circumstances make it neces- 
sary to divide the territory of one department between two or 
more regions, as, for instance, in Paris and at Lyons, there will 
be no hesitation in making the division independently of con- 
siderations of population. 

We must also, in the formation of regions, pay attention to 
possibilities of defence, which are determined by topographical 
considerations. Thus, Ave have upon our eastern frontier the 
natural defence of the Vosges, that of the Alps, and behind them, 
those of the Morvan and the Loire. We must endeavour to 
attach each of these natui-al defences to one or more regions, 
that is to say, one or more army corps. We shall also make 
mobilization easier by having regard, in the division of the 
territory, to the existence of all means of communication ; rail- 
Avays, roads, navigable watercourses, capable of assisting the 
rapidity of mobilization and the concentration of troops and 

Compared with these grave considerations of mobilization and 
defence, barrack accommodation, however important it may be, 
seems to your Committee only secondary, and your Committee 
thinks that it should not be admitted as a prime mover in 
determining the boundaries of regional districts. 

Accommodation will be provided for, with the co-operation 
and the subsidies of towns, to wliich the establishment of 
garrisons within their walls, will be a sure source of revenue. 
They Avill not hesitate to make sacrifices to that end, if the 
permanence of the garrison is assured — an assurance never 


yet granted to them. The cstabHshment of campH will bo 
sufficient provision during the period of transition. Your Com- 
mittee do not, however, think that the estabhshment of per- 
manent camps or huts can be looked upon as a satisfactory 
pro^'ision for the accommodation of troops, for if the expense 
of their first establishment* be relatively less than that of 
regular barracks, well built, Mdthout luxury and with all the 
simplicity suitable to military works, they are expensive to 
keep up and last but a short time. In sanitary respects, they 
present all the inconveniences that result from great agglomera- 
tion of men; they necessitate supplementary grants to the 
troops that occupy them ; moreover, they are far from advan- 
tageous to instruction, to the maintenance of discipline, and to 
the moral tone of the troops. 

The multipHcity of considerations, in fixing the boundaries 
of the regions and those of the subdivisions, ^\dll necessarily 
occasion difiiculties and hesitation, and make it impossible to 
fix these boundaries by law. 

Many changes, only to be suggested by experience, will cer- 
tainly have to be made, and the Grovernment must not be bound 
to come to you for legislation upon all these changes. 

However, in order to prevent the needless changes that 
occur so often in our army, your Committee think it would be 
wise to give to this point of military organization at least that 
stability which results from orders of public administration. The 
opmion of the council of state will be necessary. Some members 
of the Committee propose to add to Article 1, these words 
" the chief council of war." It has been justly observed that 
the ehief council of war has not yet had, like the council of 
state, a legal existence, and we could not thus in an incidental 
manner take for granted the creation of this important institu- 
tion. Also because of the liigh position of the members of 
the chief council of war, there is some danger lest the opinion 
of this council might be rendered obligatory by law. It might 
happen indeed without the will or desire of the Government 
that this opinion, coming from the most eminent men in the 
army, would exercise an almost irresistible pressure on the 
council of state. 

See then, gentlemen, the position in which your Committee 
were placed, and in which you would yourselves have been 
placed, if the Government had persisted m its first resolutions, 
and yoin- Committee had not been able to come to an agree- 
ment mth it. You would have found yourselves confronted 
with this statement twice repeated by the Government in 
its expose-des-motifs,'\ that the measures it proposed to you had 
been maturely considered and fully approved by the chief council of 

The authority of the chief council of war is undoubtedly 
very great, but we ought to knoAv by what majority its votes 

* See note No. 8 annexed to the Eeport. f Pago 2. 

E 2 


are passed, and what are the motives of its decisions. This 
Avould require that its sittings should be more or less pubHc, and 
publicity would not perhaps be convenient. 

Such, gentlemen, are the reasons which have made your 
Committee refuse to insert in the text of Article 1 of the Bill, 
any obligation for the intervention of the chief comicil of war 
in the order of public administration, which is to determine the 
boundaries of the regional district of each of the 18 volunteer 
army corps. 

After having decided upon the method of fixmg the 
boundaries of the districts, Articles 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the Bill 
regulate the organization of these regions "svith regard to pro- 
vision supplies for the troops, and preparations for mobilization. 
A recruitmg service is established in each region and charged 
with the enrolment of men at disposal, and of the reserve, with 
keeping lists of the territorial army, and with the census of 
horses, mules, and carriages, fit for the service of the army. 

Special magazines always provide supplies, arms, and stores 
of all kinds to the troops of the army corps stationed there. 
These magazines are either general or special. The first 
belong to the Avhole region, the second to subdivisions of the 
region. It has been asked what will be the character of these 
general magazines. We reply that they are reserve magazines 
from which the subdivisional magazines will be supplied. It 
belongs rather to the law of administration yet to come 
than to a law of general organization to determine the 
manner in which these general magazines shall themselves be 
supplied. In proposing to you to create them, your Committee 
hope to increase the harmonious working of army corps by 
administrative decentralization, to let each one contain m itself 
all means of activity, and to free them from the necessity of 
having recourse at the critical moment of mobilization to large 
magazines, in which the Government has had a tendency to 
over-centralize our army stores. It is against this system, the 
consequences of which we have had such opportunity of esti- 
mating, that we propose to you to act. We do not of course 
intend to prejudge any questions concerning the manufacture 
and preparation of the stores — these must depend on industrial 
conditions wliich will not be the same in all regions ; the general 
magazines of army corps are, therefore, in all regions the great 
centres and great manufactories and workshops which the 
Government may establish conformably to the special law of 

It must not be supposed that the regional subdivision 
proposed by the bill is the same as the present territorial com- 
mand of a department. 

This territorial command, as it is constituted at present, dis- 
appears in the new organization before the creation of the 
regional subdivision. 

The subdiAdsions will not necessarily correspond to the 
actual departmental districts. Their number and extent will 


be regulated iu each army corps according to the necessities of 

The Committee intended first to make them correspond to 
each of the infantry brigades of the active army corps, but it 
was decided that it was asking too much from the centres of 
mobilization ; their workmg would have been rendered very 
difficult by multiphcity of writings, and, above all, by the ol> 
struction that would have been caused by the concentration 
at one place of men at disposal, and of the reserve recalled to 
the fighting army. 

Your Committee think that in order to avoid obstructions 
and to facilitate mobilization the work must be divided ; and it 
is necessary, while keeping at the subdivisional centre the com- 
mand of the administration of soldiers who are m their homes, 
to divide the recruitmg service and the store ser\nce, among a 
certain number of secondary centres, in order that they may be 
nearer to the men when recalled, and mobilization be rendered 

The recruiting gives us for the nine 
classes of the active army and its 
reserve .. .. ^ .. .. 1,215,008* 

If we deduct from tliis figure the 
present effective in the service 
and liable to be recalled, viz.f . . 330,000 

There remabs 885,008 ' 

To collect at the moment of mobili- 
zation m the 72 regional subdivi- 
sions, which leaves for each one to 

furnish 12,000 

To tliis we must add for the terri- 
torial army. . . . . . . . 8,000 

This makes a total of 20,000 

as the number of men to be administered in peace and mobilized 
at the moment of war by each regional subdivision. 

It would be possible, Ijy multiplying the number of employes, 
to provide for the exigences of such a service so far asto keep 
tlie registers of enrolment and muster, and the administration 
of soldiers in their homes. 

But imagine the obstruction that would be occasioned by 
the arrival of all the reserve of a subdi\asional region at one 

* See Table 2 at tlie end of the Report. 

t The active army is 450,000 men 

of which the permanent pari is , . . . . . • • • • 120,000 

There remains 330,000 for the 

portion liable to be recalled. 


place. Supposing even that tlie mobilization of ttie active army 
and the territonal came one after the other, there would be 
nevertheless 12,000 men of the active aiiny to mobilize at the 
same time. 

How would it be possible to lodge all these men, to feed 
them, to furnish them with clothing, equipment, and arms in a 
very limited space of time 1 Even with a regional subdivision 
to every regiment the number of men to administrate and to 
mobilize would be — 

For the reserve of active army . . 6,000 
For the territorial army , , . . 4,000 

Total 10,000 

If we wish for rapid mobilization, no centre of mobiHzation 
must be responsible for more than two or three thousand 
men liable to be called to the colours. This leads us to divide 
the regional subdivision of each regiment* mto two districts of 
mobilization, or, still better, mto thi*ee, each corresponding with 
one active battalion.f 

In view of the necessity for sub-divisional branch establish- 
ment. Articles 4 and 6 of this Bill have been drawn up. They 
propose that one or several magazines shall be placed in each 
regional subdivision, and one or several recruiting offices where 
the reserve of the subdivision are to collect. At these offices 
the men of the reserve will have returned to them the arms 
and equipments they deposited on dispersing to their homes, or 
they will be supplied with new equipments, clothing, and arms. 

And now see, gentlemen, how everythmg is bound up 
together in an organization such as that with which we are 
concerned, and how the smallest details can sometimes be of 
great importance. The nature of the uniform vre adopt for the 
troops will necessarily have a very great influence upon the 
rapidity of mobilization. With the tight and close fitting 
clothing which our soldiers are now obliged to wear, it will cer- 
tainly happen that after men have passed two or three years in 
their homes, their clothes, when they are recalled at the 
moment of mobiHzation, will be found to be too small for them. 
Three or four days will be taken up with altering them, and 
during those days we may perhaps be surprised and invaded. 
We must then throw away traditions of the past, and adopt 
for our troops an uniform sufficiently ample to be worn in- 
differently by men twenty or forty years old ; it must be simple 
and without ornaments, in order not to burden the Treasury 

* lu 1870 tlie eighty-nine departmental recruiting offices took fourteen days to 
collect 163,000 men, and to start them on their way to the depots of their corps ; 
this is an average of 130 men every day to each department. 

t The Germans have for each army cor^Ds district seventeen depdts, of which 
sixteen are for the eight infantry regiments, viz., two for every regunent of three 
battalions, and one over for the capital of the region. 


with useless expenses, and easy to transform, so that it may be 
worn either by the territorial or active army. 

After treating- of the organization of territorial regions, and 
of the services which belong to them permanently, the law 
treats in Articles 6, 7, 8 and 9 of the formation and composi- 
tion of regional army corps of the active army, and of the special 
corps the formation of which is the aim of Article 6 of the 
recruiting law. These Articles correspond to Articles 4, 5, 6 
and 9 of the Government Bill. 

Articles 9, 11, 12 and 13 relate to measures to be taken in time 
of peace, for the preparation for mobilization. Article 9 lays 
down, for the first time since the order of 1788, the principle of 
permanent readiness in time of peace as in time of war ; and of 
the storing within reach of a corps the material it requu'es 
for taking the field. 

Your Committee, gentlemen, cannot forget all that was 
brought to light by the inquiry into magazines and arsenals. 
M. Blondeau's deposition made before this Committee made us 
feel strongly the danger that lies in accumulating material in 
great magazines, whence it could not bo brought in less than 
six or eight months.* 

Division of stores is then one of the essential conditions of 
mobilization. Thus we must avoid all excessive conceiitration, 
and, on the contrary, divide the stores ; give to every division, 
every brigade, and, still better, to every_ regiment in time of 
peace, the stores that it will require in time of war, and make 
it responsible for the care of them. It would then be known 
that stores are always in readiness, and frequent inspections 
would make its readiness still more sure. These arrangements 
seem so important to your Committee that it has not hesitated 
to issue a legal order which enforces the storing of material upon 
wheels. Thus the principle laid down by Article 9 is to give 
to every corps all its material in time of peace as well as in time 
of war, and to store that material within its reach. For example, 
regiments of artillery charged with the care of ammunition wag- 
gons should have those waggons and the ammunition stored 
close to theii- garrison; and cartridges destined to be distri- 
buted among the men ought also to be stored T\dthin reach of 
the corps. 

Article 10, agreeing with Article 14 of the Government Bill, 
decides that, with the exception of the corps mentioned in the 
law, no new corps can be created, nor can any change be made 
in the normal constitution of those that exist, save by vu-tue of 
a law. 

The object of this order is to prevent the recurrence of 
alterations which have incessantly, at all epochs, affected the 
organization of the army and the constitution of corps. 

These alterations are a source of expense to the war budget. 

* Page 30 of the dispositions annesecl to the Report of the Committee. 


When reductions are made, it becomes necessary to put a 
certain number of officers on half-pay, or at disposal, because 
their appointments are suppressed. When, on the contrary, it 
is considered necessary to increase the army, if the additions 
are not made gradually and in proportion to the resources of 
the cadres, they necessitate the creation of new appointments, 
which can only be filled by promoting men who are sometimes 
quite unfit for promotion. This in itself is a source of weakness, 
and a corps thus treated cannot recover for years. We will 
only add here, that alterations in the interior constitution of 
corps cause uncertainty and trouble hi the establishment of 
garrison quarters, — a result injurious both to the interests of 
the Treasury and to the well-being of the troops, whose 
accommodation leaves much to be desired at the best of times. 

All of you, gentlemen, must have been struck by the 
numerous changes made of late yqars in the uniforms of the 
corps. These changes, besides having been often for the worse, 
cause no trifling expense to the war budget. They have been 
also a cause of great inconvenience to all our officers, and have 
driven many of them into debt. 

Without wishing to go so far as to hinder necessary reforms, 
your Committee propose to you no longer to authorise any 
change in equipment and uniform, save by virtue of a law, 
unless it be partially or as an experiment. 

You will then be able to count beforehand the probable 
expense of such changes, and to see if it would not be pos- 
sible Avhen the army wants so much, and everything is to be 
reformed, to employ the money of your taxpayers in a way 
more useful to it. Articles 11, 12 and 13 are the most im- 
portant of the law. They regrdate the manner of distri- 
Tjuting the contingent of the classes among the various corps 
and services of the army and the method of mobilization. 
They decide the general system of our organization : — 1st. 
Recruiting of corps over the whole territorial national system ; 
2nd. Regional mobilization, by recalling into the same corps 
the men at disposal, and of the reserve domiciled in the district 
of its subdivision. 

We have spoken at sufficient length of these two points ; we 
shall not, therefore, return to them here. Articles 11, 12 and 13 
of the Bill may be reproached with ha\Tng rather the character 
of regulations than of a law ; but they are so important that 
your Committee thought it right to invest the orders contained 
in them with the stability of a law. These orders are also so 
little susceptible of change, that there is but httle danger of 
it. The Government makes no remark on this subject ; it 
agrees with your Committee that all shall be prepared and 
decreed beforehand for mobiHzation^ in order to avoid varia- 
tions in ministerial cnculars, which might perplex the people 
responsible for carrying them out, and occasion uncertainty 
and disorder at a moment when it is most important to 
act with certainty and order. 



Head II organizes tlio command and lays down general 
principles as the foundation of the law upon administration. 
Article VIII of the first Government Bill corresponds to Articles 
14, 15 and 16, which relate to the command. 

We have abeady said, that according to the plan of your 
Committee, the organization of regional subdivisions must be 
followed by the suppression of the present territorial com- 
mands. In time of peace, generals in command of army corps 
join the command of the territory of the region to that of the 
active troops. This command is not exercised through the 
Generals commanding active divisions or brigades, but directly 
by means of a permanent staff placed with the command. 
It is called the territorial staff, and forms part of the general 
staff of the army corps, for which it constitutes, as it were, a 
special office under the dnection of the chief of the staff. 

The first Government Bill also admitted* that the staffs and 
personnel of the various services attached to army corps, 
divisions and brigades, should be organized in movable sections 
destined to follov.^ the troops in case of mobilization, and in 
fixed sections attached to the territory, responsible for depot 
reserve and supply services of all kinds. It did not, however, 
invest Generals in command of arm}'' corps with the command 
of the territory, and though it admitted that Generals might 
exercise both these commands, it did not suppress the appoint- 
ment of Generals commanding territorial divisions. Still the 
Government did seem to understand all the difficulties that 
would sprmg from this close contact of two independent com- 
mands, for it relegated the decision of their connections with 
one another to a special law. 

In these arrangements yom* Committee see a complication 
of work and an increase of expense resulting fi-om the necessity 
of keeping up two commands, consequently two staffs working 
one beside the other ; above all, your Committee consider them 
to be contrary to the principle of unity of command and of 
' responsibility, and they propose to you to suppress the terri- 
torial divisions and subdivisions, and to amalgamate the com- 
mand of aU the troops and services of the region with the com- 
mand of the army corps, m order that responsibility may not be 
divided and that reacUness for war may be more thorouglily 

* Article 7. 


This ai-rangement, based upon the principles of one re- 
sponsible command, is not new ; for at Paris and Lyons, where 
there are active divisions and brigades, the Generals of the 
brigades and divisions have no territorial power. 

It must not be forgotten tliat active trooj)S and the Generals 
who command them are hable to be moved fi-om one part of 
the region to another, and that this mobility is incompatible 
with the duties of an essentially fixed territorial service. 
These Generals furthermore have enough to do, responsible as 
they are to the General-in-chief for the appearance and dis- 
cipline of their troops. It is also extremely important not to 
multiply the hands through which orders must pass at the 
moment of mobilization, and you will see in Article 2 of the 
Bill that orders of mobilization are transmitted from the 
General commanding the army corps directly, without passing 
through any intermediate official channels to the various 
recruiting offices which then call in the reserve. 

To send these o